|Allama Iqbal International Airport
علامہ اقبال بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈہ
|IATA: LHE – ICAO: OPLA|
|Operator||Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan|
|Hub for||Pakistan International Airlines , Pakistan Aviators & Aviation|
|Elevation AMSL||698 ft / 213 m|
Location of airport in Lahore
Allama Iqbal International Airport (Punjabi, Urdu: علامہ اقبال بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈہ, IATA: LHE, ICAO: OPLA) is the second largest civil airport in Pakistan, serving Lahore, the capital of Punjab province. Originally known as Lahore International Airport, it was renamed in 2003 for Muhammad Iqbal, the Islamic poet-philosopher who was a major advocate for the creation of the state of Pakistan, upon the opening of the new terminal building.
The airport currently has three terminals: the Allama Iqbal terminal, the Hajj terminal, and a cargo terminal. The airport is located about 15 kilometres from the centre of the city. A total of 3,192,904 passengers have travelled through Allama Iqbal International Airport in 2009 making it the 2nd busiest airport in Pakistan.
On 5 March 2010, the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan released a tender for the expansion of the airport. The number of check-in desks will be doubled from 24 to 48, as will the number of immigration counters from 10 to 20. The terminal will also be expanded and the area which was strategically kept aside for future expansion when the airport was built will be fully utilised.
At the time of the creation of Pakistan, Walton Airport was the main airport of Lahore. When Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) acquired jet aircraft such as Boeing 720s, however, Walton was unable to handle the large aircraft. The Government of Pakistan thus decided to build a brand new airport, which opened in 1962 as Lahore International Airport and was able to handle aircraft as large as the Boeing 747.
Over the course of the next 25 years the demand for air travel rose. It meant that the government decided to build a new world class airport to meet the growing needs for the future and improve the facilities for passengers since the old airport was becoming obsolete. In 2003, Allama Iqbal International Airport was inaugurated and is now the second largest airport in Pakistan after Jinnah International Karachi. All flights were switched to the new airport and the old airport was passed onto the military. However, during the Hajj period, the old airport is used as the Hajj Terminal by the national carrier, PIA.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the flag carrier of Pakistan, uses Allama Iqbal International Airport as a second Major hub, Major hub only to Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. There is an increasing demand from private Pakistani airlines and international airlines who operate out of Lahore for domestic and international operations. Many airlines are increasing their frequency out of Lahore since the new airport is able to cater to the growing needs of overseas and domestic passengers. On the inauguration of Allama Iqbal International Airport in 2003, the old terminal was converted to handle the influx of passengers for the annual pilgrimage of Hajj to Saudi Arabia. The terminal is known as the Hajj Terminal and is only operational when traffic at the new terminal becomes constrainted. It is currently used by the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines; however, negotiations are underway to allow private and international airlines to operate from the airport.
The brand new terminal includes many duty-free shops including restaurants, cafés, ice-cream parlours, confectionery shops, book and toy shops and souvenir shops. Nirala Sweets, a famous and well-popular sweets shop, has also opened in the check-in halls at the airport. There are many flat screen televisions that show real-time flight status information in both the national language, Urdu; and official language, English. The airport has seven air-bridges that dock onto the aircraft during departures and arrivals. There are a total of 30 parking spaces. The airport can provide 32 parking spaces for commercial and jet aircraft.
The national flag carrier of the UAE, Etihad Airways, opened a dedicated aircraft line maintenance facility in Lahore. The facility is equipped with the latest technology and equipment, which will be used for all day-to-day technical line maintenance on Etihad aircraft including hydraulic structural and instrument checks. Shaheen Air International also carries out some of its aircraft maintenance in Lahore; however most airlines still use Karachi or Islamabad for most of their maintenance checks so this facility is presently somewhat limited at Lahore, although this is slated to change with the airport expansion project.
Due to the increase in air travel from the airport, the CAA decided to expand the terminal to meet future growth in air travel as well as ease congestion during peak travel times. On 31 July 2008, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) awarded the expansion project to the National Engineering Services Pakistan Limited (NESPAK). The project is estimated to be completed in two years. The project entails expansion of the immigration and customs hall as well as the international and domestic departure & arrival halls. The number of check-in counters will be also be increased from 24 to 48 and the number of immigration counters will be increased from 10 to 20.
Airlines and destinations
Allama Iqbal International Airport connects Lahore with 44 cities worldwide (including domestic destinations) by both passenger and cargo flights. Up to 25 airlines operate regular flights to/from the airport.
- ^a Pakistan International's flight from New York to Lahore is nonstop, however the flight from Lahore to New York makes a stopover in Manchester (UK), where the airline has fifth freedom rights to board passengers to New York.
The following table provides details of the major traffic flows out of Lahore interms of passenger numbers, aircraft movements, cargo as well as mail. The results were collected by the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan:
|Year||Aircraft movements||Passengers (Intl & Domestic)||Cargo handled (M. Tons)||Mail handled (M. Tons)|
- List of airports in Pakistan
- Airlines of Pakistan
- Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority
- Shaheen Airport Services
- Transport in Pakistan
- Airport information for OPLA at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
- Airport information for OPLA at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
- caapakistan.com.pk – Airport Statistics
- Etihad Airways opens dedicated aircraft line maintenance facility in Lahore Pakistan
- Expansion plans for Allama Iqbal International Airport, 29 July 2008
- "flight schedules". Airblue. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
- Flynas resuming Riyadh-Lahore
- Etihad Cargo schedule
- "2013 schedule". Lufthansa Cargo. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
- Statistical Information of CAA Pakistan CAA Pakistan, assessed 8 March 2009
Media related to Allama Iqbal International Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Allama Iqbal International Airport
- Accident history for LHE at Aviation Safety Network
- Aeronautical chart for OPLA at SkyVector
- Current weather for OPLA at NOAA/NWS