Faisalabad International Airport (IATA: LYP, ICAO: OPFA) is situated on Jhang Road, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away from the city centre of Faisalabad, in the Punjab province of Pakistan. It is not as large as the other airports in Pakistan, as it operates to cater mainly to the population of Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Rabwah and Sargodha.
== History ==The airport traces into origins not too far into the past. The founder of the city decided that Faisalabad (Lyallpur) had a strategic position within the British Empire. In 1942, the local government gave permission for the construction of a bricked strip measuring 5000' by 100'. Various regional aircraft used the strip for a short time however as technology progressed the airstrip became quite out-dated. The national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines began domestic operations in 1958 operating various flights from Karachi to expand on exports and imports from the ciy. It was not until 1965, the bricked airstrip was re-built to meet standards at that time. The surface was built using bitumen and the length of the runway increased to 9000' by 100' to allow the airport to handle larger jet fuelled aircraft. During 1966-1967 the construction of an airport terminal and an apron to handle prop aircraft such as the Fokker F-27 Friendship was constructed.
In 1972 a new parallel runway with dimensions 9000' by 100' was constructed west of the existing runway, since the existing runway had deteriorated quite significantly. The new runway was designed to handle even larger aircraft such as the Boeing 737. In 1974 a jet apron, Taxiway-B, Air Traffic Control building and Met offices were constructed. A premium lounge and ILS were installed in 1985. In 1986 the terminal building was extended to accommodate greater number of passengers and meet future growth in air travel for the city. In 1991, the old runway was widened, strengthened and extended reaching dimensions of 9270' by 150' with surface bitumen to accommodate Airbus aircraft such as Airbus 310s. In 1993, CIP Lounge was constructed and terminal building was extended to accommodate greater travel growth. In 1998, direct Hajj operations were started from the airport annually, allowing more flights and traffic growth for the airport. However as of 2005, Hajj flights now fly via Karachi. Over the course of the next 25 years the demand for air travel rose. It meant that the government decided to build a new world class airport to meet the growing needs for the future and improve the facilities for its passengers since the old airport was becoming obsolete. In 2003, "Allama Iqbal International Airport" was inaugrated and is now the second largest airport in Pakistan. All flights were switched to the new airport and the old airport was passed onto the military. However, during the Hajj period, the old airport is used as a Hajj Terminal by the national carrier, PIA.
Due to more flights and greater estimates of passenger growth of the airport. Faisalabad International Airport is expected to be re-developed to meet the growth patterns for the next decade. However the CAA of Pakistan has not finalised the plans on the construction. According to a report on December 17, 2008 the Ministry of Defence chairman, Chaudhary Mukhtar Ahmed announced that the airport apron and taxi-ways would be upgraded so it can handle larger wide-body aircraft. Allocation of Rs. 100m have been allocated from the Annual Development programme.
Faisalabad is a major export generator for Pakistan, many have criticised why the airport has not been developed into a large cargo hub to meet international growth and improve the city's economy. The airport is expected to be upgraded to make it compatible to meet the growth of future flights and cargo operations. It is a fact that CAA plans to upgrade facilities at Faisalabad Airport. The proposal includes up-gradation of Apron and Taxiway for operations by wide body aircraft. Both up-gradation works is planned during the current financial year for which Rs. 100 million has been catered for in the Annual Development Programme. There are also reports that the airport maybe privitised.
The old terminal was converted to handle the influx of passengers for the annual pilgrimage of Hajj to Saudi Arabia. The terminal is known as the Hajj terminal and is only operational when traffic at the new terminal becomes constrainted. It is currently used by the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines, however, negotiations are underway to allow private and international airlines to operate from the airport.
The brand new terminal includes many duty-free shops including restaurants, cafés, ice-cream parlours, confectionery shops, book and toy shops and souvenir shops. Nirala Sweets, a famous sweets shop, has also opened in the check-in halls at the airport. There are many flat screen televisions that show live flight times in the national languages, Urdu and official language, English. The airport has seven air-bridges that dock onto the aircraft during departures and arrivals. There are a total of 30 parking spaces. The airport can provide 32 parking spaces for commercial and jet aircraft.
A brand new runway was built during the construction of Allama Iqbal International. According to the CAA, Runway 36R/18L is 3,310 metres long, 46 metres wide whilst Runway 36L/18R is 2,900 metres long, 46 metres wide. Runway 1: Heading 18L/36R, 3 360m (11 023 ft), ICAO Cat. E, Aircraft size max: B747, ILS CAT II, Lighting: AFL System CAT-II available. Runway 2: Heading 18R/36L, 2 743m (8 999 ft), 55/F/C/X/T, ICAO Cat. D, Aircraft size max: A300, ILS CAT II, Lighting: SAL System available
In Pakistan, the use of the CIP lounge is available to only first and business class passengers. In order to enter the CIP lounge, passengers must be pre-issued an access card from check-in. The cost to gain access is USD 6 per passenger international or PKR 100 domestic. The CIP lounge has light savoury snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, specialty coffees/cappuccinos, satellite TV, audio entertainment, newspapers, magazines, telephones, fax facilities, and free wireless Internet.
The national flag carrier of the UAE, Etihad Airways, opened a dedicated aircraft line maintenance facility in Lahore. The facility is equipped with the latest technology and equipment, which will be used for all day-to-day technical line maintenance on Etihad aircraft including hydraulic structural and instrument checks. Shaheen Air International also carries out some of its aircraft maintenance in Lahore; however most airlines still use Karachi or Islamabad for most of their maintenance checks so this facility is presently somewhat limited at Lahore, although this is slated to change with the airport expansion project.
Due to the increase in air travel from the airport, the CAA decided to expand the terminal to meet future growth in air travel as well as ease congestion during peak travel times. On 31 July 2008, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) awarded the expansion project to the National Engineering Services Pakistan Limited (NESPAK). The project is estimated to be completed in two years. The project entails expansion of the immigration and customs hall as well as the international and domestic departure & arrival halls. The number of check-in counters will be also be increased from 24 to 48 and the number of immigration counters will be increased from 10 to 20.
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