An Overview of Allama Iqbal International Airport

Allama Iqbal International Airport

Being one of Pakistan’s busiest international airports, Allama Iqbal International Airport is the country’s third-largest airport in terms of air traffic. It earns the third spot after Islamabad International Airport and Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport regarding passenger and flight activity.

Initially, it was known as Lahore International Airport, but it later underwent a name change and is now officially known as the Allama Iqbal International Airport. It is named after the distinguished poet and philosopher of the East, Allama Muhammad Iqbal. 

In this blog, provides a comprehensive guide to Allama Iqbal Airport, Lahore, covering all the essential information you need to know. Let’s kick things off by exploring some fascinating facts about this prominent airport. 



For a significant period before and after Pakistan’s independence, Walton Airport served as Lahore’s primary airport and has since transformed into the city’s renowned flying club. However, a pivotal moment came when Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) introduced its first Boeing 720 aircraft.

Walton Airport lacked the capacity required to accommodate jet aircraft, prompting authorities to construct a new airport with greater capacity. This initiative led to the inauguration of Lahore International Airport in 1962.  

Subsequently, in response to the surging flight and passenger traffic, Lahore Airport’s most substantial expansion project occurred in the 2000s. To cope with the continuous growth, a new terminal complex was incorporated into the airport’s infrastructure in March 2003.

Additionally, the airport was renamed as “Allama Iqbal International Airport”. Now that you understand Lahore Airport’s history, let’s delve into its location details. 



Lahore International Airport boasts an advantageous location just a short drive away from several popular neighbourhoods within the city. Situated 15 kilometres (about 9.32 mi) northeast of the city centre, the airport enjoys direct access to key expressways. You can easily reach the airport by taking the Lahore Ring Road route, or if you opt for alternate routes, the Airport Road and Airport Avenue are readily accessible. 

Several of Lahore’s highly desirable neighbourhoods, including Garden Town, Model Town, and DHA Lahore, are conveniently present near the Allama Iqbal International Airport. Depending on the route you select and the current traffic conditions, the journey from these neighbourhoods to the airport usually takes between 20 to 30 minutes. This proximity makes the airport an advantageous transportation hub for both local residents and travellers. 


Code of Lahore Airport 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) assigns distinctive codes to international airports worldwide to facilitate safe and efficient international flight operations. The IATA code is’ LHE’ for Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore, Pakistan.  

Additionally, another international body, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is responsible for overseeing international air traffic control and flight planning. For operational purposes, ICAO has allocated a unique code to Lahore Airport, ‘OPLA.’ 




passengers sitting in CIP Lounge of Allama Iqbal International Airport


At Allama Iqbal International Airport, you’ll find three distinct lounges catering to various passenger needs.  

  • CIP Lounge (Domestic/International Flights): Also known as the State Lounge for international flights, the CIP lounges are operational 24/7, primarily serving departing flights. These lounges have a wide range of amenities, including cafeterias, access to newspapers, television, internet facilities, and Wi-Fi access. Passengers flying in business class can enjoy these lounge facilities at no additional cost. Furthermore, platinum credit cardholders can also access these services without any charges. 
  • Hajj Lounge: The Hajj Lounge is designed to provide modern conveniences for passengers. It offers Wi-Fi access, snacks and food bars, flight monitoring displays, television entertainment, and access to newspapers. This lounge ensures that passengers have a comfortable and well-equipped space while waiting for their flights. 




Passengers standing at Airport terminal


Allama Iqbal International Airport has three terminals, accommodating approximately 75-80 daily flights. Let’s delve into some specifics about these terminals.  

Allama Iqbal Terminal: The newest addition to the airport complex was inaugurated in March 2003. It offers passengers state-of-the-art facilities aligned with the latest industry standards. The construction of this terminal significantly boosted the airport’s annual passenger-handling capacity. Notably, the terminal design incorporates elements reminiscent of Lahore’s Mughal history, contributing to its grand and impressive structure.  

Old Terminal Complex (Hajj Terminal): The previous terminal complex now serves a specialised role as the Hajj terminal. Designated explicitly for handling flight operations related to the Hajj pilgrimage, it has been repurposed to meet the unique needs of these travellers. 

Cargo Terminal: The Cargo Terminal at Allama Iqbal International Airport is a specialised facility dedicated to the efficient handling and processing of cargo and freight shipments. Its pivotal function lies in facilitating the movement of goods, both imports and exports, to and from Lahore and the neighbouring areas. 


Expansion Plan 

The future expansion plans of Allama Iqbal International Airport (AIIA) in Lahore, Pakistan, include

  • The terminal building at Allama Iqbal International Airport (AIIA) in Lahore, Pakistan, is slated for expansion, increasing its size to 325,000 square meters (approximately 3,500,000 square feet). The expansion plan includes the addition of 31 boarding bridges and the augmentation of the airport’s capacity to serve 25 million passengers annually. 
  • Expansion of the apron and taxiway area by 310,000 square meters (3,360,000 square feet). 
  • Construction of a new runway. 
  • Construction of a new cargo terminal. 
  • Expansion of the parking area. 
  • Improvement of the access roads to the airport. Development of additional airport-related amenities, including the establishment of a hotel, duty-free retail outlets, and a shopping mall. 

The expansion endeavour has a projection to carry an estimated price tag of approximately $1.5 billion and will be carried out in two distinct phases. The initial phase aims for completion by 2025, with the subsequent phase scheduled for finalisation in 2027. 

The expansion is deemed imperative for Allama Iqbal International Airport (AIIA) to accommodate the escalating influx of passengers and flights. In 2022, the airport successfully managed to serve over 18 million passengers, reflecting a substantial 10% upswing from the preceding year. It is anticipated that the airport will be prepared to handle an excess of 25 million passengers by the year 2025.  

Funding for this extensive expansion initiative is being jointly sourced from the government of Pakistan and the private sector. The government has committed to extending a loan of $500 million towards the project, with the private sector stepping in to contribute the remaining $1 billion. 


Airlines and Destinations

PIA Boeing 737 resting on the tarmac


Airline Destinations Website 
AirSial Karachi, Jeddah 
Air Arabia Ras Al Khaimah 
Airblue Abu Dhabi, Dubai–International, Jeddah, Karachi, Riyadh, Sharjah 
Azerbaijan Airlines Baku (begins 24 September 2023) 
Batik Air Malaysia Kuala Lumpur–International 
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou, Ürümqi 
Emirates Dubai–International 
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi 
Fly Baghdad Baghdad, Najaf 
Fly Jinnah Karachi 
Flynas Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh 
Gulf Air Bahrain 
Jazeera Airways Kuwait City 
Kish Air Mashhad 
Kuwait Airways Kuwait City 
Mahan Air Mashhad, Tehran–Imam Khomeini 
Oman Air Muscat 
Pakistan International Airlines Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Baku, Damascus, Dammam, Doha, Dubai–International, Gassim, Gilgit, Guangzhou, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jeddah, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuwait City, Medina, Muscat, Quetta, Riyadh, Salalah, Toronto–Pearson 
Qatar Airways Doha 
Saudi Airlines Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh 
SCAT Airlines Almaty 
Serene Air Dubai–International, Karachi, Quetta, Sharjah 
SriLankan Airlines Colombo–Bandaranaike 
Taban Air Mashhad 
Thai Airways International Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi 
Turkish Airlines Istanbul 
Uzbekistan Airways Tashkent 


Baggage Guidelines 

Here are the baggage guidelines for both domestic and international passengers, according to the Lahore airport website: 

  • Keep in mind that you should not carry liquids in your hand-carry luggage if they exceed 100ml. 
  • For international travel, each passenger can typically bring two pieces of baggage. The combined weight of these pieces should not exceed 20kg. It’s advisable to check with your specific airline for any additional details or variations in their policies. 
  • If you happen to exceed the baggage allowance, you should be ready for an extra fee. The exact amount of this fee will vary based on your airline’s fare policy. 
  • To prevent any confusion or issues, removing old baggage tags from your luggage before your journey is a good idea. 
  • As a safety measure, it’s advisable to ensure that you label your luggage with your name, address, and destination. This will simplify the process of identifying and returning your baggage if it happens to be lost or stolen. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Allama Iqbal International Airport 

Q: What is the official name of Lahore Airport? 

A: The official name of the airport is Allama Iqbal International Airport. 


Q: Where is Allama Iqbal International Airport? 

A: The airport is approximately 15 kilometres northeast of Lahore city centre. 


Q: How many terminals are there at Allama Iqbal International Airport? 

A: Allama Iqbal International Airport has three terminals: one for international, domestic, and a specialised Hajj terminal.


Q: What facilities can I avail at the airport? 

A: The airport offers a range of amenities, including lounges, dining options, duty-free shopping, baggage services, and car rental services. 


Q: Which airlines operate from Allama Iqbal International Airport? 

A: Several airlines operate from the airport, connecting it to domestic and international destinations. Some prominent airlines include Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines. 


Q: How can I get to the airport from the Lahore city centre? 

A: You can reach the airport by taking various transportation options, including taxis, private cars, and airport shuttle services. It’s approximately a 20-30 minute drive from popular neighbourhoods and roads in Lahore. 


Q: Is there a Cargo Terminal at Allama Iqbal International Airport? 

A: Yes, there is a dedicated Cargo Terminal at the airport for the handling and processing of cargo and freight shipments. 


Q: Are there hotels near the airport for travellers? 

A: Yes, there are several hotels close to the airport, making it convenient for travellers who require accommodation. 


Q: Is there Wi-Fi available at the airport? 

A: Yes, Wi-Fi services are available for passengers at the airport, allowing them to stay connected while waiting for their flights. 


Q: How can I contact the airport for inquiries or assistance? 

A: You can contact the airport authorities through their official website or by using the provided contact information for specific inquiries and assistance. 

To read about Islamabad International Airport, visit Graana Blog. 

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