Imam Khomeini International Airport (IATA: IKA, ICAO: OIIE) (Persian: فرودگاه بینالمللی امام خمینی, farudgah bein-ol-milli-yé Imam Khomeini) is located in Tehran, Iran. The airport is located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of the city near the localities of Robat-Karim and Eslamshahr. It was designed to replace Mehrabad International Airport, which is in the west of the city, now inside the city boundaries. The airport, originally designated as Ahmadabad, is now named after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
The construction began before the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The original design was based on Dallas Love Field. The original designers were TAMS, a consortium of US designers. A local joint venture was formed and was called TAMS-AFFA, Aziz FarmanFarmaian and Associates, the firm created by Abdol-Aziz Mirza Farmanfarmaian, to carry out the full design and supervision of construction.
After the Islamic Revolution, the project was abandoned until the government of Iran decided to design and build the airport using local know-how. The 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, to carry out and manage the construction. After two years this contract was abandoned and was awarded to a Bonyad, the Mostazafan & Janbazan (M&J Foundation), a public cartel.
After construction of the main terminal was finished by M&J 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 of two Turkish (Tepe and Akfen) and an Iranian (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 uneasiness 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."
TAV officials, who had agreed to clear out for two weeks for the dispute to be settled, also stated that they believed the memorandum of understanding they signed with the Iranian government last year to operate the airport's Terminal 1 is still in effect.
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 has been transferred to the Iranian Airports Holding Company which in behalf of Iranian Ministry of Roads and Transportation is in charge of operating all civil and governmental Iranian airports except some belongs to special organizations like Oil ministry or Armed Forces.
Further complicating matters, on 29 April 2005, the United Kingdom and Canada warned its citizens against using the airport due to alleged safety concerns concerning the runway, which has been claimed to have been built over ancient qanats (subterranean waterways). Iranian officials countered these claims by stating that there are no safety issues and that the International Civil Aviation Organization had inspected and approved the airport.
Transfer of flights from Mehrabad
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 IKIA became Tehran's primary international airport. All flights have now been moved to IKA except domestic flights and flights to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and Umrah.
Instrument Landing System (ILS)
IKA is equipped with the ILS since August 2009. The system was purchased seven years ago but the selling firm refused to set it up due to sanctions against Iran. The ILS was installed by Iranian experts.
IKA has obtained the international certificate of Integrated Management System (IMS). IMS includes OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001: 2004 and ISO 9001, which are issued for safety and professional hygiene, protecting the environment and the quality of management respectively.
Airport tax is collected from Iranian citizens for the amount of 500,000 IRR upon each departure. However, in August 2008, the law on the airport tax was changed for Iranian expatriates, whose passport does not indicate Iran as the domicile and also students studying abroad, to be exempt from paying airport tax.
Airlines and destinations
Imam Khomeini Airport is accessible from Tehran by Car, taxi and bus via the Tehran-Qom Freeway. An airport access road connects the freeway to the airport terminal, continuing to serve Robat-Karim via an interchange with Saidi Highway. An extension to the southern part of Line 1 of Tehran Metro for IKA airport is currently under construction and scheduled to reach the airport in first quarter of 2011. There is also plan to have Line 3 of the Tehran Metro to reach it's southern terminus at IKA in future.
Construction and Expansion
IKIA Phase 1 Shy of Rls3 Trillion (US$335 million)
About 3 trillion rials (US$335 million) have been sought for completing Phase 1 of Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA), in the next Iranian year to March 2009, announced managing director of the State Airports Company, Asghar Ketabchi. According to a fax sent to Iran Daily by the company's Information Dissemination Department, if the sum is made available and the same amount is earmarked for the year to March 2010, the first phase of the airport would go into operation in the year to March 2009. He said that constructing the second runway, completing Customs Administrations' and a number of other buildings are among the projects for Phase 1 of IKIA. Presently the airport has the capacity to handle 6.5 million passengers per annum, he said and noted that 3 million people will use the airport by 19 March. Given the eight percent growth in flights, it is estimated that IKIA will have moved five million passengers by March 2009. The newly-built Imam Khomeini International, the largest airport in Iran, sprawls over an area of 13,500 hectares. About 3.2 trillion rials (US$357 million) will be needed to promote the airport to a world-class level.
The French firm ADPI, subsidiary of the Aéroports de Paris Group has been commissioned for providing a master plan development study, with a second phase of development offering a 26.5 Million Annual Passengers throughput capacity.
Completion part of phase one including cargo terminal and VIP terminal is currently under construction with Haj terminal in engineering phase and airport Hotel in bid to find investor which this latest one transferred to phase 2 package. Phases 2 & 3 of the airport have been designed to reach the airport capacity to 26.5 milion and 50 million passengers annually with another possible phase 4 to reaching 90 million per year. Study and design for phase 4 will be done as soon as construction of phase 3 starts. According to the fact that airport is quickly reaching its current capacity of 6.5 million per year , a bid to find investors for second phase that has been announced by airport officials.It has partially concluded by selecting Naja Bonyad Taavon (A semi governmental foundation) as the developer of most of phase 2 including a new 238,000 m2 passenger terminal with annual capacity of 20million,a southern runway, new parking with 2500 cars capacity and a 4star 250 rooms airport hotel with some of execution activities have already been started.This phase will cost USD2.2 billion from which USD700 million will be provided by Iranian government and the rest USD1.5 billion was the matter of bid which the winner Bonyad Taavon is committed to invest about USD1.2 billion of that and take at least 36months to finish its portion. ,
Accidents and incidents
On 15 December 2007, an Airbus A330-200 belonging to KLM arriving from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol collided with a Lufthansa Airbus 340-300 bound for Frankfurt International Airport. The accident, which took place at 3:00 IRST, caused no casualties but led to the cancellation of the Lufthansa flight. The aircraft was coming to a stop in front of a passenger boarding bridge when it collided with the wing of the Lufthansa Airbus A340 that was taxiing towards the runway. It was reported that the planes did not sustain severe damage.
On 4 January 2008, an Iran Air Boeing 747-100B had three of its engines catch fire whilst landing at Imam Khomeini Airport. Heavy snowfall managed to extinguish the fires and the airplane returned to service two days after the incident.
On 15 July 2009, Caspian Airlines Flight 7908, a Tupolev Tu-154 bound for Yerevan, Armenia crashed into a field in the village of Farsiyan in Qazvin province (north-western Iran), 16 minutes after take-off from Imam Khomeini Airport. All 168 passengers and crew were killed.
Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport
Terminal building at Imam Khomeini International Airport
A Mahan Air Boeing 747-400 Mahan Air boarding at Imam Khomeini International Airport
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The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2010.
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