Allama Iqbal International Airport

علامہ اقبال بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا
Airport typePublic
OperatorPakistan Civil Aviation Authority
LocationLahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Hub for
Elevation AMSL698 ft / 213 m
Coordinates31°31′17″N 74°24′12″E / 31.52139°N 74.40333°E / 31.52139; 74.40333Coordinates: 31°31′17″N 74°24′12″E / 31.52139°N 74.40333°E / 31.52139; 74.40333

Location of airport in Lahore , Pakistan
Location of airport in Lahore , Pakistan
LHE/OPLA (Pakistan)
LHE/OPLA (South Asia)
LHE/OPLA (Middle East)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18R/36L 8,999 2,743 Asphalt
18L/36R 11,024 3,360 Concrete
Statistics (2017-18)
Aircraft movements37, 547 Increase 5.6%
Cargo handled105,019 metric tons
Source: World Aero Data DAFIF[1][2]
Statistics from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority[3]

Allama Iqbal International Airport (Urdu: علامہ اقبال بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا‎, IATA: LHE, ICAO: OPLA) is the second largest civilian airport by traffic in Pakistan, serving Lahore, capital of Punjab and second-largest city of Pakistan. It also serves a large portion of the travellers from the other regions of Punjab province. Originally known as Lahore International Airport, it was renamed after the poet philosopher Muhammad Iqbal, one of the pioneers that led to the creation of Pakistan. The airport has three terminals: the Allama Iqbal terminal, the Hajj terminal and a cargo terminal. The airport is about 15 km from the centre of the city.[4]


Post independence

At the time of the Independence of Pakistan, Walton Airport was the main airport of Lahore. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) acquired its first jet aircraft Boeing 720, Walton Airport was unable to handle the load of Boeing 720. The Government of Pakistan decided to build a brand new airport, which opened in 1962.[5] The airport had a specifically built runway and apron to handle aircraft up to the Boeing 747. This opened Lahore's gates to the world.[6] PIA initiated direct flights to Dubai and London via Karachi.[5]


New Airport

Over the course of the next twenty-five years, the demand for air travel rose. The government had to build a bigger terminal to meet the growing needs of the region. In March 2003, a new terminal was inaugurated by President General Pervez Musharraf, originally commissioned by then ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The airport was named Allama Iqbal International Airport and became the second largest airport in Pakistan after the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. All flights were switched to the new airport and the old airport was passed onto the military. However, the government later reclaimed the airport from the military and developed it into a Hajj terminal.

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority awarded the main contract to Airsys ATM, leader of a consortium with J&P Overseas Ltd, an international building and civil engineering contractor. Airsys ATM is a joint project from Thomson-CSF Airsys and Siemens, dedicated to air traffic management systems and airport development. The Airports Group in the UK was also awarded a $70 million contract for airport systems construction. The project was implemented by a consortium of Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P), responsible for civil and building works, and the Airports Group, responsible for the implementation of the system. Airsys ATM and Thales ATM were responsible for the fabrication and installation of the air bridges at the new terminal.

In 2008, the national flag carrier of the UAE, Etihad Airways, opened a dedicated aircraft line maintenance facility in Lahore. The facility is used for day-to-day technical line maintenance on Etihad aircraft, including hydraulic structural and instrument checks.[7]

In October 2020, British Airways has resumed its direct flight operations to and from Lahore after 44 years.[8][9]

Future plans

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) has planned the expansion of the terminal building and the number of gates will be increased from 7 to 22, with a corresponding increase in remote bays. This will increase the annual passenger capacity of Lahore Airport from 6 million to 20 million which will be sufficient to cater to the passenger load for the next 15 to 20 years.

The new design of the Lahore Airport Expansion Project has inspiration from the national flower of Pakistan, Jasmine or locally known as "Chambeli". The airport will have 4 arms similar to 4 platters of Jasmine flower. The original building has Mughal architectural features but the new airport will have a blend of Spanish and Mughal Architecture.

Gates in the main terminal building will be increased from seven to twenty-two. The present terminal building will not be demolished but will be expanded. The current parking area will be converted to arrival and departure lounges. Square lawn in front of the airport will be converted to a round shape 3-storey car parking area. It will be ensured that car parking space is sufficient to serve in the peak hours.

The design of the airport was developed by GilBartolomé Architects[10] from Spain, following a contract awarded to international Spanish Firm, TYSPA International,[11] which firm also worked on expanding the Madrid and São Paulo Airports. A Chinese firm, the China Construction Third Engineering Bureau, has been awarded the contract, worth US$382 million (RMB 2.6 billion CNY), to carry out the construction work.[12] During the expansion of the airport, nearby road networks will also be improved, which will help to ease traffic congestion on the roads leading to Lahore Airport.


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LHE is fitted with all the essentials for domestic and international flights. The information below is correct as of September 2020.[13]

The new terminal (airside)
PIA 777-200LR docked on the jet-bridge.
PIA F-27 on a remote stand
Holding Lounge
Arrival Boards



Airport services

Ground handling agents


Airlines and destinations


Air ArabiaRas Al Khaimah
airblueAbu Dhabi, Dubai–International, Jeddah, Karachi, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah
British AirwaysLondon–Heathrow
China Southern AirlinesGuangzhou,[16] Ürümqi
Etihad AirwaysAbu Dhabi
FlyBaghdad Baghdad
FlynasJeddah, Riyadh
Gulf AirBahrain
Jazeera AirwaysKuwait
Kuwait AirwaysKuwait
Mahan AirMashhad, Tehran–Imam Khomeini
Malindo AirKuala Lumpur–International
Oman AirMuscat
Pakistan International AirlinesAbu Dhabi, Bahrain,[17] Baku, Beijing–Capital, Dammam, Doha, Dubai–International, Gassim, Gilgit, Islamabad, Jeddah, Karachi, London–Heathrow, Manchester, Medina, Muscat, Quetta, Riyadh, Salalah, Skardu, Toronto–Pearson
Qatar AirwaysDoha
SaudiaRiyadh, Jeddah, Medina
SaudiGulf AirlinesDammam
Serene AirKarachi, Quetta, Dubai–International , Sharjah
SriLankan Airlines Colombo–Bandaranaike
Thai AirwaysBangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Turkish AirlinesIstanbul
Uzbekistan AirwaysTashkent
Virgin AtlanticLondon–Heathrow[18]


This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
DHL Aviation Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Bagram[19]
FitsAir Colombo
Maximus Air Cargo Abu Dhabi, Dubai–International
MNG Airlines Abu Dhabi, Kabul
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha
SriLankan CargoColombo–Bandaranaike
TCS Couriers Dubai–International, Karachi
YTO Cargo Airlines Lanzhou[20]


The following table provides details of the major traffic flows out of Lahore in terms of passenger numbers, aircraft movements, cargo and mail. Note that the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan operates with fiscal years starting on July and ending in June of next year. The results were collected from the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan website.:[21]

Fiscal Year Aircraft movements Passengers (Intl & Domestic) Cargo handled (M. Tons) Mail handled (M. Tons)
2006 30,991 2,779,223 66,643 1,582
2007 29,298 3,018,220 75,816 1,713
2008 30,299 3,217,844 76,030 1,113
2009 24,804 3,506,262 84,798 1,739
2010 31,093 3,459,211 80,308 1,449
2011 30,592 3,680,436 77,057 1,544
2012 31,498 4,122,009 91,015 1,121
2013 29,942 4,529,682 89,376 1,348
2014 29,896 4,606,767 83,715 250
2015 34,619 4,876,129 88,750 239
2016 38,924 4,989,462 98,254 302
2017 39,228 5,031,857 105,019 261
2018 32,304 4,490,182 87,969 190
Busiest routes at Allama Iqbal International Airport (by number of flights weekly)
Rank City Country Number of flights Airlines
1 Karachi  Pakistan 61 airblue, Pakistan International Airlines, Serene Air, AirSial
2 Jeddah  Saudi Arabia 33 airblue, Pakistan International Airlines, Saudia
3 Dubai  United Arab Emirates 26 airblue, Emirates, Pakistan International Airlines
4 Abu Dhabi  United Arab Emirates 22 airblue, Etihad Airways, Pakistan International Airlines
5 Doha  Qatar 21 Qatar Airways
6 Islamabad  Pakistan 17 Pakistan International Airlines
7 Muscat  Oman 16 Oman Air, Pakistan International Airlines
8 Dammam  Saudi Arabia 12 Flynas, Pakistan International Airlines, SaudiGulf Airlines
9 Riyadh  Saudi Arabia 10 Flynas, Pakistan International Airlines, Saudia
10 Kuwait City  Kuwait 09 Jazeera Airways, Kuwait Airways

Awards and recognitions

See also


  1. ^ "Airport information for OPLA". World Aero Data. Archived from the original on 5 March 2019.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link) Data current as of October 2006. Source: DAFIF.
  2. ^ Airport information for LHE at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  3. ^ Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority "Airport Statistics" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore |". Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore |". Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Thanks For Your Vote of Confidence - PIA Advertisement - History of PIA - Forum". Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Etihad Airways opens dedicated aircraft line maintenance facility in Lahore Pakistan". Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  8. ^ TLTP (13 October 2020). "British Airways flight lands in Lahore after 40 years". Profit by Pakistan Today. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  9. ^ "British Airways revives destination in Pakistan after 44 years". Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Allama Iqbal Airport Expansion (Under construction)". GilBartolome Architects. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  11. ^ "TYPSA designs the new Lahore airport in Pakistan - TYPSA". TYPSA::Consulting Engineers and Architects. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Chinese Company Contracted To Build Pakistans Largest Airport". Pakistan Point. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) The official website to AIIA
  14. ^ Editor, T. N. S. (11 January 2015). "Fogbound losses". TNS - The News on Sunday. Retrieved 17 February 2019.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "AirSial expected to start operations in Pakistan next month, first plane lands in Karachi".
  16. ^ "China Southern resumes Guangzhou – Lahore in March 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  17. ^ Liu, Jim. "Pakistan International to resume Lahore – Bahrain from mid-Sep 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Virgin Atlantic outlines Pakistan operations from Dec 2020".
  19. ^ DHL and Etihad Cargo increase connectivity through the Middle East Archived 5 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "New cargo air service links Lahore, Lanzhou in NW China". The Nation. 5 December 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  21. ^ Statistical Information of CAA Pakistan Archived 19 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine CAA Pakistan, assessed 8 March 2009
  22. ^ "Allama Iqbal International Airport Tops in Services - History of PIA - Forum". Retrieved 17 February 2019.

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