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Jinnah International Airport

جناح بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا
Jinnah Intl Logo.jpg
PK Karachi Airport asv2020-01.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority
Manager: Afsar Malik
Location Karachi-75200, Sindh, Pakistan
Opened 1924 (100 years ago) (1924)
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 100 ft / 30 m
Coordinates 24°54′24″N 67°09′39″E / 24.90667°N 67.16083°E / 24.90667; 67.16083
KHI/OPKC is located in Pakistan
Location in Pakistan
KHI/OPKC is located in Asia
Location in Asia
Runway Length Surface
m ft
07R/25L 3,400 11,155 Concrete
07L/25R 3,200 10,500 Concrete
Statistics (July 2021 - June 2022)
Passengers 5,165,904
Passenger change Increase 53.4
Aircraft movements 42,508 Increase 14.13%
Cargo handled 94,560 metric tons

Jinnah International Airport (Urdu: جناح بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا) (IATA: KHIICAO: OPKC), formerly Drigh Road Airport or Karachi Civil Airport, is Pakistan's busiest international and domestic airport, and handled 7,267,582 passengers in 2017–2018. 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 statesman founder of Pakistan. It is one of the oldest airports in the world.

The airport is managed by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and serves as 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.


Imperial Airways was one of the first airlines to fly to Karachi in December 1926 when Pakistan was a part of British India.

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.

During the late 1920s and early 1930s, 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 Field Marshal Ayub Khan in the 1960s.

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.

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.

Karachi was once a much busier airport. Between the 1960s and 1980s, it was an online station of several famous airlines of the world such as BOAC, Qantas, and Pan Am, featuring prominently on the latter's flagship around-the-world route, eastbound flight PA1 and westbound flight PA2. It served as PIA's primary international hub and saw direct flights to many international destinations on Pakistani metal, at a time when the airline was considered to be one of the foremost in the world. However, PIA's eventual decline in quality and ambition led to many routes being curtailed. Additionally, the emergence of Dubai's airport on the world map, increased usage of longer haul aircraft, and the poor political climate of Karachi during the 1990s, resulted in several airlines discontinuing their service to the airport. Recently, the situation has stabilised somewhat and several airlines have returned, although the airport is still nowhere near the service level of its heydays between the 60s-90s.

In March 2006, Pakistan International Airlines began a nonstop flight to Toronto on Boeing 777s.

Apart from getting 12 new boarding bridges in 2016, the airport has not seen any major expansion or upgrades to its structure since the opening of the Jinnah Terminal in 1992, although several airlines have installed auto-ticketing kiosks to facilitate self-ticketing. PIA auto-ticketing kiosks are available round-the-clock, as well as staffed check-in counters open 24 hours.


PK Karachi Airport asv2020-02
Interior of the terminal
Jinnah International Airport
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. It is a major focus city of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), as the primary hub has shifted to Islamabad. All other Pakistani airlines also use Jinnah International Airport as their main hub. These include airblue, SereneAir, Fly Jinnah, and AirSial 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 – 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. 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 Islamabad International Airport, Islamabad. 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 wide-body aircraft 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. The head office of the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan is located in Terminal 1. Pakistan International Airlines has its head office on the grounds of the airport (PIA Building), as well as its central mainframe (CRC Building). CRC Building also houses the PIA 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, Flight Kitchen, and PTC (PIA Training Centre) are also located here. Terminals 1 and Jinnah West also boast round-the-clock PIA booking offices and ticketing auto-kiosks.

Isphahani Hangar

The Isphahani Hangar is PIA's wide-body aircraft maintenance hangar at Jinnah International Airport. It has been named in honour of Mirza Ahmed Isphahani, the first and longest serving chairperson 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.


KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner PH-BKA (100 Years livery)
KLM were the first world airline to serve Karachi in 1924

Jinnah Airport has one main terminal, divided into two concourses and five floors:

  • The Jinnah East Satellite Concourse, used for international flights
  • 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 have a width of 46 m (150 ft) and 45m respectively. The runways are capable of handling up to Boeing 747-400, Airbus A350 XWB & Antonov An-225 Mriya aircraft. The runways have capacity to handle 15 flights per hour and can accommodate simultaneous landings and take offs. Runways 25R and 25L are equipped with ILS CAT-I to guide landing aircraft safely under very poor weather conditions and in low visibility conditions, such as fog. 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


Airlines Destinations 
Air Arabia Sharjah

Air China Beijing–Capital

airblue Dubai–International, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta

AirSial Islamabad, Jeddah, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta

Azerbaijan Airlines Baku
Batik Air Malaysia Kuala Lumpur–International

Cham Wings Airlines Damascus

Emirates Dubai–International

Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa

Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi

Fly Jinnah Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta

flydubai Dubai–International

Flynas Jeddah

Gulf Air Bahrain

Iran Air Tehran–Imam Khomeini

Iraqi Airways Baghdad, Najaf

Jazeera Airways Kuwait City

Oman Air Muscat

Pakistan International Airlines Baku, Dammam, Dubai–International, Faisalabad, Gwadar, Islamabad, Jeddah, Lahore, Mashhad, Medina, Multan, Muscat, Peshawar, Quetta, Salalah, Sharjah, Sialkot, Skardu, Sukkur, Toronto–Pearson, Turbat

Pegasus Airlines Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen

Qatar Airways Doha

SalamAir Muscat

Saudia Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh

Serene Air Islamabad, Jeddah, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta

SriLankan Airlines Colombo–Bandaranaike
Thai Airways International Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi

Turkish Airlines Istanbul
Air China's flight from Beijing to Karachi makes a stop-over at Islamabad but the flight from Karachi to Beijing is non-stop. Air China does not have eighth freedom rights to transport passengers solely between Karachi and Islamabad.


Airlines Destinations 
DHL Aviation Abu Dhabi, Bagram, Bahrain
MNG Airlines Kabul
Qatar Cargo Doha
TCS Courier Dubai–International, Islamabad, Lahore
Turkish Cargo Colombo–Bandaranaike, Istanbul, Singapore
YTO Cargo Airlines Kashgar, Kunming, Nanning


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:

Year Aircraft movements (commercial) Passengers (intl. & domestic) Cargo handled (M. tons) Mail handled (M. tons)
2006-07 52,990 5,460,328 152,364 2,828
2007-08 50,622 5,865,859 161,762 2,832
2008-09 49,920 5,698,164 144,993 2,189
2009-10 53,295 5,832,494 149,498 2,787
2010-11 50,924 6,032,999 142,364 2,324
2011-12 52,682 5,968,531 142,544 2,478
2012-13 49,075 5,966,349 154,924 1,984
2013-14 48,519 6,397,316 136,124 2,101
2014-15 48,832 6,267,068 125,716 2,747
2015-16 54,509 6,602,181 124,346 13,236
2016-17 61,428 6,903,948 126,498 13,792
2017-18 51,890 7,267,026 130,361 12,214
2018-19 42,339 6,802,121 120,559 23,909
2019-20 31,200 4,381,949 97,742 8,936
2020-21 26,743 3,366,509 97,887 4,396
2021-22 35,259 5,165,904 94,560 1,698
Busiest routes at Jinnah International Airport (by number of flights weekly)
Rank City Country Number of flights Airlines
1 Islamabad Pakistan 105 Serene Air, Pakistan International Airlines, airblue, AirSial
2 Dubai United Arab Emirates 78 Emirates, Pakistan International Airlines, flydubai
3 Lahore Pakistan 69 airblue, Pakistan International Airlines, Serene Air, AirSial
4 Jeddah Saudi Arabia 36 airblue, Pakistan International Airlines, Saudia
5 Sharjah United Arab Emirates 27 Air Arabia, Pakistan International Airlines
6 Muscat Oman 22 Oman Air, Salam Air, Pakistan International Airlines
7 Doha Qatar 19 Qatar Airways, Pakistan International Airlines
8 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates 16 Etihad Airways, Pakistan International Airlines
9 Istanbul Turkey 11 Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines
10 Bahrain Bahrain 11 Gulf Air
Traffic flow 2018-2019
Total aircraft movement (number) Total passengers (numbers) Total cargo (M. tons) Total mail (M. tons)
Commercial Non-commercial Grand total Domestic International Total Domestic International Total Domestic International Total
Domestic International Total
23,598 23,207 46,805 427 47,232 2,526,702 3,685,783 6,212,485 18,181 81,723 99,904 65 22,254 22,319

Ground transport

Jinnah International Airport is situated near the highly populated areas of Gulistan-e-Jauhar and Malir. It is easily accessible through Shahrah-e-Faisal Road from any part of the city.

The airport has a heptagon carpark which can accommodate more than 3000 vehicles.

Buses, mini buses and taxis are also available to the airport. There are also a number of traditional auto-rickshaws available at the airport parking area and 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

In 2013, the son of a politician Sher Muhammad Baloch thrashed an official of local airline.

In 2018, a male passenger was thrashed by the officials at the airport.

Date Aircraft Registration Flight no Airline Occupants Fatalities Details
27 December 1947 Douglas DC-3 VT-AUG 1947 Korangi Creek crash Air-India 23 23 The DC-3 lost control after takeoff and struck the ground in a 30deg angle whilst in a violent sideslip to the right.
3 March 1953 de Havilland DH-106 Comet 1A CF-CUN Canadian Pacific Air Lines (CP Air) 11 11 Failed to take off and crashed into a dry river bed. First fatal passenger jet airliner crash.
5 August 1956 Hermes IV G-ALDK Britavia Suffered the collapse of the nose undercarriage at Drigh Road Airport. The aircraft was damaged beyond economic repair.
14 August 1959 Vickers Viscount AP-AJE Pakistan International Airlines 3 2 Aircraft crashed at Karachi International Airport while attempting an overshoot with two engines inoperative on a training flight.
5 September 1986 Boeing 747-121 Pan Am Flight 73 Pan American World Airways 381 20 Aircraft 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 Flight 201 JS Air 21 21 A plane chartered by the Italian oil company, ENI crashed a minute after takeoff. All 21 passengers and 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.
28 November 2010 Ilyushin Il-76 4L-GNI Sun Way Flight 4412 Sun Way 8 10 Aircraft 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.
22 May 2020 Airbus A320-214 AP-BLD Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303 Pakistan International Airlines 99 97 A domestic passenger flight from Lahore to Karachi crashed into the Model Colony residential area while on a second ILS approach to Jinnah International Airport.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Jinnah para niños

  • Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority
  • Transport in Pakistan
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