Jinnah International Airport

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Jinnah International Airport

جناح بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا
Jinnah Intl Logo.jpg
Karachi Jinnah Airport.jpg
Airport typePublic
Owner/Operator Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority
Manager: Afsar Malik [1]
Location Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Hub for
Elevation  AMSL 100 ft / 30 m
Coordinates 24°54′24″N67°09′39″E / 24.90667°N 67.16083°E / 24.90667; 67.16083 Coordinates: 24°54′24″N67°09′39″E / 24.90667°N 67.16083°E / 24.90667; 67.16083
Website karachiairport.com.pk
Karachi Transport Network.png
Airplane silhouette.svg
Pakistan location map.svg
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Asia laea location map.svg
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Direction LengthSurface
Statistics (2017-18 [2] )
Passenger changeIncrease2.svg 2.80
Aircraft movements58,004 Increase2.svg 15.51%
Cargo handled125,730 metric tons

Jinnah International Airport (Urdu : جناح بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا; Sindhi : جناح بين الاقوامي هوائي اڏي) ( IATA : KHI, ICAO : OPKC) is Pakistan's busiest international and domestic airport, and handled 6,697,073 passengers in 2017-2018. [3] Located in Karachi, the largest city and commercial capital of Pakistan and capital of the province of Sindh, it is named after Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

Sindhi language Indo-Aryan language spoken in South Asia

Sindhi is an Indo-Aryan language of the historical Sindh region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, spoken by the Sindhi people. It is the official language of the Pakistani province of Sindh. In India, Sindhi is one of the scheduled languages officially recognized by the central government, though Sindhi is not an official language of any of the states in India.

An IATA airport code, also known as an IATA location identifier, IATA station code or simply a location identifier, is a three-letter code designating many airports and metropolitan areas around the world, defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The characters prominently displayed on baggage tags attached at airport check-in desks are an example of a way these codes are used.

ICAO airport code four-letter code designating many airports around the world

The ICAOairport code or location indicator is a four-letter code designating aerodromes around the world. These codes, as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization and published in ICAO Document 7910: Location Indicators, are used by air traffic control and airline operations such as flight planning.


The airport is managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and provides a hub for the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA),airblue and many other private airlines. The airport is equipped with aircraft engineering and overhauling facilities including the Ispahani Hangar for wide-body aircraft. [4]

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority regulatory authority in Pakistan

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority is a public sector autonomous body, which oversees and regulates all aspects of civil aviation in Pakistan. PCAA's head office is situated in Terminal-1 of Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. PCAA is a member state of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Nearly all civilian airports in Pakistan are owned and operated by the PCAA.

Airline hub airport that an airline uses as a transfer point to get passengers to their intended destination

Airline hubs or hub airports are used by one or more airlines to concentrate passenger traffic and flight operations at a given airport. They serve as transfer points to get passengers to their final destination. It is part of the hub-and-spoke system. An airline operates flights from several non-hub (spoke) cities to the hub airport, and passengers traveling between spoke cities need to connect through the hub. This paradigm creates economies of scale that allow an airline to serve city-pairs that could otherwise not be economically served on a non-stop basis. This system contrasts with the point-to-point model, in which there are no hubs and nonstop flights are instead offered between spoke cities. Hub airports also serve origin and destination (O&D) traffic.

A flag carrier is a transportation company, such as an airline or shipping company, that, being locally registered in a given sovereign state, enjoys preferential rights or privileges accorded by the government for international operations.


Tata Airlines, started as an air mail service from Karachi to Mumbai Tata Sons' Airline Timetable Image, Summer 1935 (interior).jpg
Tata Airlines, started as an air mail service from Karachi to Mumbai
Karachi Port Trust Airport in 1943 during World War II with two Liberators and four Dakotas Karachi Airport in 1943 during World War II.jpg
Karachi Port Trust Airport in 1943 during World War II with two Liberators and four Dakotas

Imperial Airways was one of the first airlines to fly to Karachi in March 1929.

J. R. D. Tata, the father of civil aviation in British India made the maiden voyage from Juhu Aerodrome in Bombay (now Mumbai) to Drigh Road airstrip (now Jinnah International Airport), Karachi, via Ahmedabad, on 15 October 1932 carrying mail in a Puss Moth aircraft. [5]

J. R. D. Tata Indian businessman

Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata was an Indian aviator, entrepreneur, chairman of Tata Group and the shareholder of Tata Sons.

British Raj British rule on the Indian subcontinent, 1858–1947

The British Raj was the rule by the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The rule is also called Crown rule in India, or direct rule in India. The region under British control was commonly called India in contemporaneous usage, and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and those ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British tutelage or paramountcy, and called the princely states. The whole was also more formally called the Indian Empire. As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.

Juhu Aerodrome aerodrome in Mumbai, India. First airfield in India

Mumbai-Juhu Airport is located in Juhu, an upmarket residential suburb of Mumbai, India. It is used by small General Aviation aircraft and helicopters. Founded in 1928 as India's first civil aviation airport, Juhu served as the city's primary airport during and up to World War II. In 1948, commercial operations were moved to the much larger RAF Santacruz which was built 2 km east of Juhu aerodrome during the war. In 1932, JRD Tata landed at the Juhu aerodrome, inaugurating India's first scheduled commercial mail service.

During the late 1920's and early 1930's, there was a large black coloured airship hangar at the site of Karachi Airport, constructed for the British HMA R101, at the time, the largest aircraft ever built. Only three hangars were ever built in the world to dock and hangar Britain's fleet of passenger airships. However, the R101 never arrived in Karachi (then part of the British Raj) as it crashed and exploded just 8 hours into its maiden flight over Beauvais France, killing all but 6 of its 54 passengers and crew. This hangar was so huge that aircraft often used it as a visual marker while attempting VFR landings at Karachi. Over the years, the hangar became known as the landmark of Karachi, until it was demolished by order of then-President Ayub Khan in the 1960s.

Airship hangars are specialized buildings that are used for sheltering airships during construction, maintenance and storage. Rigid airships always needed to be based in airship hangars because weathering was a serious risk.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.


R101 was one of a pair of British rigid airships completed in 1929 as part of a British government programme to develop civil airships capable of service on long-distance routes within the British Empire. It was designed and built by an Air Ministry-appointed team and was effectively in competition with the government-funded but privately designed and built R100. When built, it was the world's largest flying craft at 731 ft (223 m) in length, and it was not surpassed by another hydrogen-filled rigid airship until the Hindenburg flew seven years later.

During World War II, Karachi Airport was a major transhipment base for United States Army Air Forces units and equipment being used by Tenth Air Force in eastern India, Burma and the Fourteenth Air Force in China. Several operational bomber and fighter units flew into Karachi for short organisational periods prior to their deployment. Air Technical Service Command had extensive facilities where aircraft were received, assembled and tested prior to being flown to their combat units at forward airfields. It also functioned as a major maintenance and supply depot for both air forces. In addition, Air Transport Command flew numerous cargo and passenger flights to the Middle East and to points within British India and China.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

United States Army Air Forces aerial warfare branch of the United States army from 1941 to 1947

The United States Army Air Forces, informally known as the Air Force, was the aerial warfare service component of the United States Army during and immediately after World War II (1939/41–1945), successor to the previous United States Army Air Corps and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force of today, one of the five uniformed military services. The AAF was a component of the United States Army, which on 2 March 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces, the Services of Supply, and the Army Air Forces. Each of these forces had a commanding general who reported directly to the Army Chief of Staff.

Tenth Air Force Numbered air force of the United States Air Force responsible for reserve air combat, special operations, training, and space forces

The Tenth Air Force is a unit of the U.S. Air Force, specifically a numbered air force of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC). 10 AF is headquartered at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base/Carswell Field, Texas.

The airport facilities were further expanded in the 1980s to Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 respectively. The present day infrastructure of Jinnah International Complex is a result of an expansion programme carried out in 1994. Today, the new Jinnah Terminal handles both domestic and international flights, whereas Terminal 2 is now dedicated to Hajj operations. Terminal 1 (the original airport) is now the HQ of Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority and Terminal 3 is dedicated to commercial offices. [6]

Karachi was once a much busier airport. Between the 1960s and 1980s it was an online station of several airlines of the world including Qantas, Pan Am, Air India, BOAC, British Airways (now operating via codeshare with Qatar Airways and directly to Islamabad), Interflug, TAROM, Alitalia (now operating via codeshare with Etihad), JAT Serbian Airlines, Aeroflot, Lufthansa, Swissair, SAS, Air France, KLM (now operating via codeshares with Etihad and Gulf Air), UTA, Philippine Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Libyan Arab Airlines, Nigeria Airways, EgyptAir, East African Airways, Kenya Airways (now operating via codeshare with Etihad), Kuwait Airways (now operating to Lahore and Islamabad), Syrian Air, Royal Jordanian and MEA. Other former airlines were Azerbaijan Airlines, Taban Airlines, Yemenia, Gulf Traveller, Kyrgyzstan Airlines, Tajik Air, Turkmenistan Airlines, Uzbekistan Airways (now operating to Lahore), Air Kazakhstan, Ariana Afghan Airlines, Air Ceylon, Indian Airlines, Transportes Aéreos da Índia Portuguesa, Royal Nepal, Biman, GMG Airlines, United Airways, CAAC Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Braathens SAFE, Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux, Swiss International Air Lines, Eritrean Airlines, Sudan Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and ZAS Airlines. However, due to the emergence of Dubai's airport on the world map, increased usage of longer haul aircraft, expensive fuel prices in Pakistan and the poor political climate of Karachi during the 1990s, several airlines discontinued their service to the airport.

In the past couple of years Karachi has seen a reversal in fortunes. The dwindling number of international airlines has stabilised and whilst there has not been a marked increase in the number of airlines flying into Karachi, some have either increased the number of flights or resumed their old operations, either directly or via codeshare service.

As air traffic in Pakistan increased by staggering 40% in the last 5 years, five new airlines (Askari Air, Air Siyal, Go Green, Liberty Air and Afeef Zara Airways) are expected to venture into Pakistan’s aviation industry by 2019, in the latest sign of intensifying competition in the backdrop of an open skies policy. This will not only bring a positive competitive environment and reduce passenger fares, but will also pose fresh challenge requiring a serious policy review to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) which is crippled by its own political vested interests. [7]


Jinnah International-JIAP Karachi-Terminal-00138.JPG
Jinnah International-JIAP
Aerial view of Jinnah International Airport taken in 2010 Jinnah International Airport.jpg
Aerial view of Jinnah International Airport taken in 2010

Jinnah International Airport has a capacity of handling 12 million passengers annually. In fiscal year 2008–2009, over 5,725,052 passengers used Jinnah International Airport. 50,095 aircraft movements were registered. [8] It is the primary hub of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). All other Pakistani airlines also use Jinnah International Airport as their main hub. These include airblue, Shaheen Air, SereneAir as well as several charter carriers. The building is linked via connecting corridors to two satellites, each having a provision of eight passenger-loading bridges. The eastern satellite is devoted exclusively to handling international operations. The western satellite is used for domestic operations, as well as some international operations. This is achieved through a flexible arrangement of gates. The two satellites supplement the departure lounges of the terminal building and also provide shopping facilities, mobile recharging points, and snack counters.

The Jinnah Terminal was completed in 1992 at a cost of US $100 million [ unreliable source? ] – at the time the most expensive civil construction project in Pakistan. NESPAK (National Engineering Services Pakistan) and Airconsult (Frankfurt, Germany) were responsible for the architecture and planning of the terminal. Sogea Construction, a French company, was the contractor. Mukhtar Husain and Abdul Malik (NESPAK) were the Chief Engineers for the new terminal. In Karachi, the CIP Lounge can be used by all first and business class passengers on all outbound flights. Barclays, UBL and airblue have also introduced their dedicated lounges in the international terminal of the airport. [9] There are a number of bank kiosks and ATMs that passengers can use at the airport. The airport is also where the majority of PIA's maintenance network is located, although some of its maintenance work also takes place at Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Rawalpindi. There are several hangars at the airport; the largest being the Ispahani Hangar (named after Mirza Ahmad Ispahani, the first chairman of PIA) that can accommodate two Boeing 747s and one narrow body airliner (e.g. Boeing 737) at one time. On 15 February 2006, the first major overhaul of a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft (known as "C" check) was done at Ispahani Hangar. Most of the PIA aircraft are checked and regulated at the aircraft hangars in Karachi. The PIA maintenance also check other airline aircraft in Karachi such as Philippine Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Air Universal. The head office of the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan is located in Terminal 1. [10] Pakistan International Airlines has its head office on the grounds of the airport (PIA Building), [11] as well as its central mainframe (CRC Building) which also houses its frequent flyer programme, Awards +, as well as hosting SITA Bagtrak, the shared International Air Transport Association global lost luggage tracking computer network. PIA Engineering HQ, Cargo Village and Flight Kitchen are also located here. Terminals 1 and Jinnah West also have round-the-clock PIA booking offices and ticketing auto-kiosks. Shaheen Air also has its head office on the airport property. [12]

Ispahani Hangar

PIA Maintenance facility, Ispahani Hangar Karachi Airport2.jpg
PIA Maintenance facility, Ispahani Hangar

The Ispahani Hangar is PIA's wide-body aircraft maintenance hangar at Jinnah International Airport. It has been named in honour of Mr. Mirza Ahmad Ispahani. Mirza Ahmad Ispahani was the first and longest serving chairman of Pakistan International Airlines from its inception in 1954 until 1962. The new jet hangar for wide body and narrow body aircraft with a supporting airframe overhaul shop was completed and commissioned in 1968. Most of the PIA aircraft are checked and regulated at the aircraft hangars in Karachi. The PIA maintenance also check other airline aircraft in Karachi such as Philippine Airlines, Yemenia and Turkish Airlines.


Jinnah Airport has one main terminal, divided into two concourses: [13]

  • The Jinnah East Satellite Concourse, used for international flights [14]
  • The Jinnah West Satellite Concourse, used for domestic flights

Runways and aprons

The airport has two runways measuring 3,200m and 3,400m in length respectively. Runways, 25R/07L and 25L/07R each have a width of 46 m (250 ft)and 45m respectively. Capable of handling up to Boeing 747, Airbus A350 XWB & Antonov An-225 Mriya aircraft. The runways have capacity to handle 15 flights per hour and it accommodate simultaneous landing and take off. Runway 25R and 25L is equipped with ILS CAT-I to guide landing aircraft safely under very poor weather conditions and also allowing planes to land in low visibility conditions, such as fog. [15] The taxiway is able to handle 12 aircraft at any one moment while the parking area measures 266,000 sq metres and is able to accommodate 42 aircraft, 12 of which through air bridges linking them directly with the terminal building. In addition to this, there are remote parking bays for 30 aircraft.

Airlines and destinations


Air Arabia Sharjah
airblue Islamabad, Jeddah, Lahore
Air China Beijing–Capital a
Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Flydubai Dubai–International
Flynas Dammam [16]
Gulf Air Bahrain
Iran Air Tehran-Imam Khomeini
Iraqi Airways Baghdad, Najaf [17]
Oman Air Muscat
Pakistan International Airlines Bahawalpur, Dhaka, Sharjah, Dammam, Dera Ghazi Khan, Dubai–International, Faisalabad, Gwadar, Islamabad, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur–International, Lahore, London–Heathrow, Medina, Multan, Panjgur, Peshawar, Quetta, Rahim Yar Khan, Sialkot, Sukkur, Toronto–Pearson, Beijing, Tokyo, Turbat
Qatar Airways Doha
SalamAir Muscat
Saudia Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh
SaudiGulf Airlines Dammam [18]
Serene Air Faisalabad, [19] Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta
SriLankan Airlines Colombo
Thai Airways Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Muscat
Turkish Airlines Istanbul [20]


^a : Air China's flight from Beijing to Karachi make a stop in Islamabad International Airport but the flight from Karachi to Beijing is nonstop. Air China does not have eighth freedom rights on the Karachi-Islamabad sector


DHL Aviation Abu Dhabi, Bagram, Bahrain [21]
MNG Airlines Kabul
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha
TCS Courier Dubai, Islamabad, Lahore
Turkish Airlines Cargo Colombo, Istanbul-Atatürk, Singapore,
Vision Air International Lahore


The following table provides details of the major traffic flows out of Karachi Airport in terms of passenger numbers, aircraft movements, cargo as well as mail. The results were collected by the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan: [22]

YearAircraft movements (Commercial)Passengers (Intl. & Domestic)Cargo handled (M. Tons)Mail handled (M. Tons)
Busiest routes at Jinnah International Airport (by number of flights weekly)
RankCityCountryNumber of flightsAirlines
1 Dubai Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates 78Emirates, Pakistan International Airlines, Flydubai
2 Islamabad Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan 75airblue, Pakistan International Airlines, Serene Air
3 Lahore Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan 68airblue, Pakistan International Airlines, Serene Air
4 Jeddah Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia 36airblue, Pakistan International Airlines, Saudia
5 Sharjah Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates 27Air Arabia, Pakistan International Airlines
6 Muscat Flag of Oman.svg  Oman 22Oman Air, Thai Airways International, Salam Air
7 Doha Flag of Qatar.svg  Qatar 19Qatar Airways
8 Abu Dhabi Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates 16Etihad Airways
9 Bahrain Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain 10Gulf Air

Ground transport

Jinnah International Airport is situated in the well populated area of Gulistan-e-Jauhar and it is easily accessible through Airport Road from any part of the city.

The Airport has a wide parking area which can accommodate more than 3000 vehicles.

Bus and mini bus and taxis are also available to the airport. There are also a number of traditional auto-rickshaws available at the airport parking area & entrance which are quite popular to travel short distances within the city.

Karachi Cantonment railway station is the nearest railway station from the airport to get the railway connections for the other parts of country. There is also a commuter rail station, Karachi Airport Station, which is located 2 km southwest of main Jinnah Terminal, just south of Star Gate.

Accidents and incidents

DateAircraftRegistrationFlight noAirlineOccupantsFatalitiesDetails
27 December 1947 Douglas DC-3 VT-AUG Air-India 2323The DC-3 lost control after takeoff and struck the ground in a 30deg angle whilst in a violent sideslip to the right. [23]
3 March 1953 de Havilland DH-106 Comet 1ACF-CUN Canadian Pacific Air Lines (CP Air)1111Failed to takeoff and crashed into a dry river bed. First fatal passenger jet airliner crash. [24]
5 August 1956 Hermes IV G-ALDKBritaviaSuffered the collapse of the nose undercarriage at Drigh Road Airport. The aircraft was damaged beyond economic repair. [25]
14 August 1959 Vickers Viscount AP-AJE Pakistan International Airlines 32Aircraft crashed at Karachi International Airport while attempting an overshoot with two engines inoperative on a training flight. [26]
5 September 1986 Boeing 747-121 Pan Am Flight 73 Pan American World Airways 38120Aircraft was hijacked by Palestinian gunmen posing as airport officials upon arrival from Bombay (now Mumbai), India. 20 people were killed when the gunmen opened fire on the passengers as commandos prepared to storm the airplane whilst still on the ground.
5 November 2010 Beechcraft 1900 JS Air 2121A plane chartered by the Italian oil company, ENI crashed a minute after takeoff. All 21 passengers & crew on board - 17 ENI employees, 2 pilots, a security guard and a technician - were killed. Among the dead were 20 Pakistani nationals and 1 Italian national. [27]
28 November 2010 Ilyushin Il-76 4L-GNI Sun Way Flight 4412 Sun Way810Aircraft crashed in a populated area of Karachi shortly after taking off from Jinnah International Airport. All eight people on board were killed, as were a further two people on the ground. The aircraft was reported to have been trying to return to Jinnah International after suffering an engine fire. [28]

Terrorist attack

On 8 June 2014, 10 militants armed with automatic weapons, a rocket launcher, suicide vests and grenades attacked Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan. 36 people were killed, including all 10 attackers, and 18 others were wounded. [29] Two aircraft of PIA (a Boeing 747 and an Airbus A310) and one Air Indus plane were reported to be damaged. The damage to the Air Indus aircraft was extensive, which rendered it non-operational, leading to the demise of the airline. [30] Both PIA aircraft were subsequently written off. [31]

See also

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PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/ .

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  2. http://www.caapakistan.com.pk/AT/AT-EO-Stats.aspx
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