Bahawalpur Airport: An Overview to the Historic Airport 

Bahawalpur Airport Terminal

Located in the South Punjab region of Pakistan, Bahawalpur Airport serves as a vital transportation hub for the Bahawalpur District. With its IATA code BHV and ICAO code OPBW, this airport plays a crucial role in connecting the city of Bahawalpur to domestic and international destinations. Originally catering primarily to domestic flights, Bahawalpur Airport expanded its services to include flights to the Middle East in July 2009.  

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Over the years, the airport has undergone significant redevelopment, with modern facilities and infrastructure upgrades aimed at enhancing the travel experience for passengers. has compiled a detailed guide about Bahawalpur Airport, detailing its history, structure, flight operations, and other aspects.


History of Bahawalpur Airport 


Bahawalpur Airport

Initially established to facilitate domestic flights, the Bahawalpur airport underwent a transformative phase of redevelopment, largely underwritten by the government of the United Arab Emirates. It is one of the best airports in Pakistan.

In a momentous stride forward, November 2002 witnessed the inauguration of the first phase of the airport’s ambitious runway extension project. This crucial expansion, which extended the runway’s length to 4,400 feet, heralded a new era for Bahawalpur Airport. Symbolizing this progression was the touchdown of a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Fokker F27 Friendship flight originating from Islamabad. It marked the inaugural flight on the extended runway. 

Following this landmark development, subsequent phases of redevelopment further bolstered the airport’s infrastructure and amenities. Notably, in January 2007, the airport celebrated the inauguration of its state-of-the-art terminal, christened the Sheikh Rashid Terminal in honor of the Dubai ruler who played a pivotal role in financing the project.

The terminal was outfitted with modern conveniences such as spacious arrival and departure halls, departure lounges, and dedicated offices for airport and airline management personnel. 


Establishment of CIP


Cip Lounges New International Islamabad Airport , Pakistan | Fiandre Architectural Surfaces

One notable innovation introduced during the redevelopment was the establishment of a Commercially Important Persons (CIP) lounge. This initiative aimed to foster inclusivity by granting premium passengers access to enhanced facilities, thereby mitigating the prevalent “VIP culture” often associated with airport lounges. 

To bolster security and efficiency, the airport underwent technological upgrades, including the installation of comprehensive CCTV surveillance systems for passenger monitoring and a sophisticated flight information system. Additionally, the provision of air-conditioned interiors ensured passenger comfort even amidst sweltering temperatures. 

Further enhancing the airport’s allure was the construction of a regal lounge designated for esteemed dignitaries and visiting members of royal families. This bespoke facility underscored Bahawalpur Airport’s commitment to providing top-tier services and hospitality to its distinguished guests. 

Overseeing these extensive developments were entities such as the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority, Dubai Civil Aviation Department and the Defence Ministry of Pakistan, underscoring the collaborative efforts and strategic partnerships pivotal to the expansion project’s success. 

Beyond enhancing passenger services, the expansion of Bahawalpur Airport sought to streamline air cargo operations and catalyze agricultural exports from the Punjab province, thereby contributing to regional economic growth and prosperity. 


Structure of the Airport 


Sheikh Rashid Terminal

The central hub of activity at Bahawalpur Airport is its terminal building, meticulously designed to cater to the needs of passengers. Within this structure, both arrival and departure halls provide essential services and facilities. The terminal offers modern amenities and comfortable seating areas for travelers awaiting their flights. 


Sheikh Rashid Terminal 

Named in honor of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Sheikh Rashid Terminal represents the epitome of modern aviation infrastructure. This state-of-the-art facility boasts cutting-edge technology and premium services, ensuring a world-class travel experience for passengers. 


Passenger Lounges 

Departure lounges within the terminal provide passengers with a tranquil environment to relax before their flights. These lounges are equipped with comfortable seating, entertainment options, and refreshment facilities to enhance the overall passenger experience. 


Commercially Important Persons (CIP) Lounge 

The airport features a dedicated CIP lounge aimed at providing premium services to commercially important passengers. This lounge offers exclusive amenities and personalized assistance, reflecting the airport’s commitment to catering to the diverse needs of its clientele. 


Royal Lounge 

Reserved for visiting dignitaries and members of royal families, the royal lounge exudes luxury and sophistication. This exclusive facility offers unparalleled comfort and privacy, ensuring a memorable experience for esteemed guests. 


Security Infrastructure 

Bahawalpur Airport prioritizes the safety and security of its passengers and facilities. Advanced security measures, including CCTV surveillance and stringent access controls, are implemented throughout the airport premises to maintain a secure environment. 


Parking Facilities


AP-BHV - Pakistan International Airlines - PIA - Boeing 77… | Flickr

Ample parking space is available for passengers and visitors, with designated parking areas conveniently located near the terminal building. The airport also features well-defined traffic flow patterns and signage to facilitate smooth vehicular movement. 


Cargo Handling Infrastructure 

Bahawalpur Airport offers comprehensive cargo handling facilities to support the efficient movement of goods. Dedicated cargo terminals, storage areas, and loading bays cater to the needs of cargo operators. It helps in ensuring timely and secure handling of shipments. 


Supervision and Management 

The airport’s operations are overseen by a collaborative effort between the Dubai Civil Aviation Department and the Defence Ministry of Pakistan. This partnership ensures effective supervision, management, and coordination of airport activities. This contributed to its seamless operation as a vital transportation hub. 


Bahawalpur Airport Upgradation 

The Bahawalpur Airport Upgradation project was initiated in March 2003 and completed in December 2003. It was aimed to modernize and expand the airport infrastructure to accommodate larger aircraft, specifically B-737 services. 

Initially designed to cater to small aircraft like the Folker, Bahawalpur Airport required extensive upgrades to meet the demands of larger aircraft like the B-737. The project involved the extension of the runway and parking apron, as well as the construction of a new passenger terminal building capable of handling B-737 passenger loads. 

Key Features of the Airport Improvement Project (2003): 

  • Extension of the runway to 2940 meters with 7.50-meter shoulders on each side. 
  • Addition of 60-meter over-run on each end of the runway. 
  • Construction of a 70-meter x 30-meter dumbbell on both sides of the runway. 
  • Installation of a flexible taxiway for enhanced aircraft maneuverability. 
  • Expansion of the aircraft parking apron to 160 meters x 75 meters with a 4-meter shoulder all around. 
  • Development of a new passenger terminal building designed to accommodate B-737 passenger loads. 
  • Implementation of an airfield lighting system for enhanced visibility and safety. 

The project involved a range of services including topographic survey, soil investigations, design and working drawings for runway extension. It also included aircraft parking apron, runway lighting design, preparation of bill of quantities (BOQ) and specifications. Moreover, architectural design of the passenger terminal building, and construction supervision of the runway and aircraft parking apron were also in the plan.


Frequently Asked Questions about Bahawalpur Airport 

The following are the most frequently asked questions about Bahawalpur Airport: 


What airlines operate at Bahawalpur Airport? 

Currently, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is the only airline in Pakistan that serves as the primary airline operating at Bahawalpur Airport. PIA predominantly offers domestic flights connecting Bahawalpur to major cities within Pakistan. Sometimes, it also occasionally operates international flights to select destinations. 


Is there parking available at Bahawalpur Airport? 

Yes, Bahawalpur Airport provides ample parking facilities for both passengers and visitors. The parking area is conveniently located near the terminal building, ensuring easy access for travelers. Additionally, designated parking spaces for individuals with disabilities are available to cater to the needs of all airport users. 


Are there any dining options available at the airport? 

Absolutely! Bahawalpur Airport features a variety of dining options to satisfy travelers’ culinary preferences. Passengers can enjpy freshly brewed coffee and light snacks and a selection of local and international cuisines.


Does Bahawalpur Airport have facilities for passengers with special needs? 

Yes, Bahawalpur Airport is committed to ensuring accessibility for all passengers, including those with special needs. The airport provides facilities such as wheelchair assistance, accessible restrooms, and designated parking spaces to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Additionally, trained staff members are available to offer assistance and support as needed to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free travel experience. 


How far is Bahawalpur Airport from the city center? 

Bahawalpur Airport is conveniently located approximately 3.7 kilometers (about 2 nautical miles) from the city center of Bahawalpur. Travelers can reach the airport from the city center in a short drive or taxi ride, making it easily accessible for both departing and arriving passengers. 

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