Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport

Last updated

Imam Khomeini
International Airport

فرودگاه بین‌المللی امام خمینی تهران
IKIA Logo 1.png
Tehran IKIA at Night.jpg
Airport typePublic
Owner Government of Iran
Operator Iran Airports Company
Serves Tehran metropolitan area
LocationAhmadabad, Tehran, Iran
Hub for
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
  Summer (DST)IRDT (UTC+04:30)
Elevation  AMSL 3,305 ft / 1,007 m
Coordinates 35°24′58″N051°09′08″E / 35.41611°N 51.15222°E / 35.41611; 51.15222 Coordinates: 35°24′58″N051°09′08″E / 35.41611°N 51.15222°E / 35.41611; 51.15222
Website ikac.ir
Iran location map.svg
Airplane silhouette.svg
Location within Iran
Middle East location map2.svg
Airplane silhouette.svg
IKA (Middle East)
Direction LengthSurface
11L/29R13,7724,198 Asphalt
13,9404,249 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Aircraft Movements58,123 Increase2.svg 9%
Passengers8,852,232 Increase2.svg 13%
Cargo (t)163,699 Increase2.svg 11%

Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (Persian : فرودگاه بین‌المللی امام خمینی) ( IATA : IKA, ICAO : OIIE), is the primary international airport of Tehran, the capital city of Iran, located 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Tehran, near the localities of Robat Karim and Eslamshahr and spread over an area of 13,500 hectares (33,000 acres) of land. Along with Mehrabad International Airport, Imam Khomeini Airport is one of the two international airports serving Tehran. All international flights in Tehran, with the exception of Hajj charters, are currently served by this airport, and all domestic flights are served by Mehrabad Airport. IKA ranks third in terms of total passenger traffic in Iran after Tehran Mehrabad Airport and Mashhad Airport. The airport is operated by the Iran Airports Company and is the primary operating base for Iran Air and Mahan Air.



Early planning

Construction of the airport began prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution. The original designers were Tippetts-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton (TAMS), an American engineering and architectural consulting partnership. A local joint venture was formed between TAMS and local firm Abdol Aziz Farmanfarmaian Associates called TAMS-AFFA, to carry out the full design and supervision of construction. Following the Iranian revolution, however, the project was abandoned until the government of Iran decided to design and build the airport using local expertise.


French firm ADP was selected to head the local designers and engineering firms. A turnkey design and build contract was awarded to a local general contractor company, Kayson Co., to carry out and manage the construction. After two years this contract was abandoned and was awarded to a bonyad, the Mostazafan Foundation. [2]

Initial opening

Iran Air Airbus A300, being refuelled at Imam Khomeini International Airport. Iran Air Airbus, At Imam Khomeini International Airport Refuling, loading cargo and catering during March 2016.jpg
Iran Air Airbus A300, being refuelled at Imam Khomeini International Airport.

After construction of Terminal 1 was completed by the Mostazafan Foundation, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization decided to turn the management of operations along with the construction of the second terminal to the TAV (Tepe-Akfen-Vie) consortium consisting of two Turkish (Tepe and Akfen) and an Austrian (Vie) companies. The original opening was scheduled for 11 February 2004, the onset of the auspicious "Ten-Day Dawn" (1–11 February) celebrations, marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. There were numerous issues surrounding the construction of the airport including the supply of fuel to the new airport, and a delay in signing a deal with the Iranian oil ministry forced a delay in the opening of the airport until 8 May 2004.

Just prior to the opening on 8 May, two local airlines refused to switch to the new airport. Economic Hayat-e No daily quoted Ali Abedzadeh, director of semi-privately owned Iran Aseman Airlines, as saying "We are not flying from an airport run by foreigners." TAV officials were ordered to withdraw their personnel and equipment from the airport on 7 May 2004, and operations were handed over to Iran Air. "I think they (the armed forces) were given false reports that the Turks were still on the site, while they had all evacuated the airport by Friday," airport manager Hossein Pirouzi said. However, on 8 May, a few hours after the opening of airport, the Revolutionary Guards of the Iranian Armed Forces closed it, citing security fears over the use of foreigners in the running of the airport. Only one Emirates flight from Dubai was allowed to land. The second flight from Dubai, which was an Iran Air flight, was forced to land in Isfahan International Airport, because the Mehrabad Airport did not allow it to land there after the Imam Khomeini airport was closed by the armed forces. The rest of the flights were diverted to Mehrabad. On 11 May, in a meeting of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal and Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, the Turkish expressed unease about the actions of the Iranian armed forces. The airport reopened on 13 May, as deputy head of Iran's Joint Chiefs of staff Brigadier-General Alireza Afshar stated "because foreign companies will no longer be in charge of the airport's operation, security obstacles are removed."

Second opening

Mahan Air Airbus A340s parked at IKIA. Line-up of Mahan Air Airbus A340s at IKIA.jpg
Mahan Air Airbus A340s parked at IKIA.
The Emirates Airbus A380 saluted by traditional water cannon ceremony In Imam Khomeini Int'l Airport, 2014 Inaugural flight of Emirates A380 to Tehran.jpg
The Emirates Airbus A380 saluted by traditional water cannon ceremony In Imam Khomeini Int'l Airport, 2014

In April 2005 the $350 million Imam Khomeini International Airport was reopened under the management of a consortium of four local airlines—Mahan Air, Aseman, Caspian Airlines and Kish Air—although no formal contract appeared to have been awarded. Soon later management of the airport was transferred to the Iran Airports Company which in behalf of Iranian Ministry of Roads and Transportation is in charge of operating all civil and governmental Iranian airports except some belonging to special organizations like Oil ministry or Armed Forces. [3]

Final opening

On 26 October 2007, it was announced that as of 28 October 2007 at midnight, all international flights except those bound to and from Damascus, Jeddah and Medina were transferred to the Imam Khomeini International Airport and the IKA became Tehran's primary international airport. In 2016, as a result of worsening ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, all Hajj flights from Iran were terminated, rendering IKA the only international gateway to Tehran. [4] Hajj flights resumed in 2017. [5]

Post-nuclear sanctions temporary boom

Subsequent to the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions in mid January 2016, Air France resumed flights to the Iranian capital after having suspended them in 2008. On 17 April 2016, [6] Air Asia resumed Tehran services by offering direct flights from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to Tehran after having suspended them in 2012. These flights were subsequently canceled in 2017 and 2018.

Furthermore, various other airlines including Austrian, Alitalia, British Airways, [7] KLM, China Southern Airlines [8] and Thai Airways [9] either resumed or ramped up frequency of their flights to Tehran. Nevertheless, some of these routes proved not profitable, resulting in the cancellation of Tehran routes by KLM, British Airways and Air France effective September 2018. [10] [11]


Ukraine International Airlines has noted in light of Flight 752 that "Tehran is not a simple airport". [12] [13] [14]

Passenger terminals

As of June 2019, IKIA has two active terminals.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1, IKIA's first active terminal, has a total annual handling capacity of 6.5 million passengers and 120,000 tonnes of cargo. In 2017, it handled nearly 9 million passengers. [15]

Salaam Terminal (Terminal 2)

IKIA's second terminal, called the Salaam Terminal, has a capacity of 5 million passengers per year. It was meant to be opened in June 2016, but financing issues resulting in part from US sanctions against Iran led to its opening being delayed until June 2019. [16] While originally intended as a dedicated pilgrimage terminal, according to Iran's former Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi, it will be open to all varieties of flights. [15]

Iranshahr Terminal (Terminal 3)

IKIA's proposed third terminal, called the Iranshahr Terminal, is currently in its planning phase. In February 2016, its development contract had been awarded to the Dutch engineering firm Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO), a subsidiary of Royal HaskoningDHV. [15] However in 2017, NACO withdrew from the contract after its failure to obtain financing due in part to US sanctions against Iran. [16] The Iranshahr Terminal is planned to have a capacity of 20 million passengers per year, which would bring the airport's total passenger capacity to 30 million passengers per year. Once opened, the current Terminal 1 will be used for domestic flights only. [17]


There are currently two runways at IKA of which only one is operational. The operational runway is equipped with the ILS CAT II since August 2009. A second ILS system was purchased seven years ago to serve the other runway but the selling firm refused to set it up due to sanctions against Iran. The ILS was installed by Iranian technicians. [18] A third runway positioned to the south of the existing runways and passenger terminal is in final stages of construction.


In October 2015, French corporation AccorHotels opened its Novotel and Ibis-branded hotels on the airport premises, marking the entry of the first international hotel chain into the Iranian market since the 1979 revolution. [19] The two hotels are connected to Terminal 1 by a sky bridge passing through the airport metro station.

Airlines and destinations


Aeroflot Moscow–Sheremetyevo
Air Arabia Sharjah
AnadoluJet Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen (begins 29 March 2020) [20]
Armenia Airways Yerevan [21]
ATA Airlines Kazan, Najaf
Charter: Batumi, Denizli, İzmir, Tbilisi
AtlasGlobal Istanbul
Seasonal charter: Adana, Antalya, İzmir
Austrian Airlines Vienna (suspended until 21 January 2020)
Bravo Airways Kiev–Zhuliany
Buta Airways Baku [22]
Cham Wings Airlines Damascus [23]
China Southern Airlines Beijing–Capital, Ürümqi [24]
Corendon Airlines Charter: Antalya, Kayseri
Emirates Dubai–International
flydubai Dubai–International
Freebird Airlines Charter: Adana, Antalya, Istanbul, İzmir
Georgian Airways Seasonal charter: Batumi, Tbilisi
Iran Air Amsterdam, Ankara, Baghdad, Baku, [25] Beirut, Cologne/Bonn, Dubai–International, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Istanbul, Karachi, Kuwait, [26] London–Heathrow, Milan–Malpensa, Mumbai, Najaf, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, [27] Rome–Fiumicino, Stockholm–Arlanda, Tbilisi, [28] Vienna
Seasonal: Denizli, [29] Isparta, [30] İzmir, [31] Jeddah, Medina, Moscow–Sheremetyevo [32]
Iran Aseman Airlines Istanbul, Izmir, [33] Najaf, Tbilisi, Yerevan
Seasonal charter: Isparta, Moscow–Vnukovo
Iraqi Airways Baghdad, Najaf, Nasiriyah
Kuwait Airways Kuwait
Lufthansa Frankfurt (suspended until 21 January 2020)
Mahan Air Almaty, Ankara, Baku, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Barcelona, Beijing–Capital, Caracas, Delhi, Dubai–International, Erbil, Guangzhou, Istanbul, Kabul, Kuala Lumpur–International, Lahore, Moscow–Vnukovo, Najaf, Shanghai–Pudong, Shenzhen, Sulaimaniyah, Yerevan
Seasonal: Athens, Casablanca, Colombo–Bandaranaike, Denpasar/Bali, Denizli, Goa, Isparta, İzmir, Larnaca, Marrakesh, Mauritius, Phuket, Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Varna [34]
Meraj Airlines Seasonal charter: Baghdad, Denizli, Goa, Istanbul, Najaf
Nordwind Airlines Seasonal charter: Moscow–Sheremetyevo, Saint Petersburg
Nouvelair Seasonal charter: Monastir, [35] Tunis
Oman Air Muscat
Onur Air Seasonal charter: Adana, Antalya
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Seasonal charter: Adana, Antalya
Qatar Airways Doha
Qeshm Air Brussels, [36] [37] Hamburg, [38] Istanbul, Najaf
Seasonal charter: Denizli, İzmir, Sochi, Tbilisi, Varna, Yerevan
SalamAir Muscat [39]
SunExpress Seasonal: İzmir, [40] Trabzon [41]
Syrian Air Charter: Damascus [42]
Taban Air Najaf
Tailwind Airlines Charter: Adana, Antalya
Turkish Airlines Istanbul, [43] Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen (ends 28 March 2020) [20]
Seasonal: Ankara, İzmir


AeroLogic Frankfurt
Fars Air Qeshm Dubai–Al Maktoum
Iran Air Cargo Doha, Dubai–Al Maktoum
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt, Maastricht
MNG Airlines Istanbul–Atatürk
Silk Way Airlines Baku
Turkish Cargo Hanoi, Istanbul–Atatürk, Karachi
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha, Hong Kong


In 2013, the airport handled 4.756 million passengers, a 20% increase over the previous year. This made it the eleventh busiest airport by international passenger traffic in the Middle East. The airport handled 98,904 tonnes of cargo in 2013. The total number of commercial aircraft movements was 36,827 in 2013. [44]

Annual traffic

Annual Passenger Traffic [45]
YearPassengers% Change
20124,735,089Decrease2.svg 6%
20134,756,012Increase2.svg 0.4%
20146,049,062Increase2.svg 27%
20157,243,120Increase2.svg 20%
20167,821,369Increase2.svg 8%
20178,852,232Increase2.svg 13%

Busiest routes

International Scheduled Weekly Departures From Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (2019)
RankCountryCityNumber of DeparturesCarriers
1 Flag of Turkey.svg Istanbul +120 AtlasGlobal, Iran Air
Mahan Air, Pegasus Airlines, Qeshm Airlines
Turkish Airlines
2 Flag of Iraq.svg Najaf +80 ATA Airlines, Iran Air, Iran Aseman Airlines
Iraqi Airways, Mahan Air, Qeshm Airlines
Taban Airlines
3 Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg Dubai +30 Emirates, Iran Air, Mahan Air [46]
4 Flag of Qatar.svg Doha 20 Qatar Airways [47]
5 Flag of Iraq.svg Baghdad +15 Iran Air, Iraqi Airways, Mahan Air [46]

Ground transportation


The airport is served by the Imam Khomeini Airport Metro Station. The metro connection for IKIA was opened on 7 August 2017, as a station on the new Tehran Metro Line 8, which is an extension of Tehran Metro Line 1. There are provisions for a second station serving the planned Iranshahr Terminal (Terminal 3) in the future.

Line 8 is the first 24/7 operational metro line in Tehran, serving mid-night passengers from Darvazeh Dowlat Metro Station to the Imam Khomeini Airport Metro Station. To arrive at Line 8, Line 1 passengers must transit from Shahed - Bagher Shahr Metro Station to Shahr-e Aftab Metro Station, then, at Shahr-e Aftab Metro Station, passengers must board a Line 8 train.

At present, departures from IKIA to Shahr-e Aftab Metro Station are limited to 06:50, 08:10, 09:30, 10:50, 12:10, 13:30, 14:50, 16:10, 17:30, 18:50 and only 20:10. The duration of the journey between the two stations is approximately 35 minutes. At Shahr-e-Aftab, passengers can change for Line 1 for journeys to on to Central Tehran. According to the Tehran City Council, the price of a one-way ticket is 90,000 Iranian rial (less than a US Dollar) (see Tickets & Fares) [48]

High-speed rail

The airport is planned to be served by the Tehran-Qom-Isfahan High Speed Rail. The new link will enable direct rail access from the cities of Qom and Isfahan and a fast non-stop connection to Tehran Railway Station. The line is currently in early planning and construction phase.


Imam Khomeini Airport is accessible from Tehran by car, taxi and shuttle buses via Tehran-Qom and Tehran-Saveh freeways. Airport-operated taxis serve arriving passenger 24/7. In 2017, a typical taxi journey from the airport to the center of Tehran takes around 45 minutes which costs about 850000-900000 Iranian rial or US$10 and are often light yellow Toyota Camry, Toyota RAV4, Volkswagen Caddy or IKCO Samand. [49]

Accidents and incidents

See also

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