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 and Sargodha.
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 city. 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.
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.
An aircraft marshaller guiding an aircraft into the apron
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 may be privatised.
- One domestic and international lounge each.
- One executive lounge for premium passengers as well as a CIP lounge for diplomatic/VIP guests.
- Snack and gift shops are also available in the departure lounge as well as internet Wi-Fi facilities.
- Nose-in parking for 1 wide-body aircraft such as Airbus A310 plus 2 prop aircraft such as ATR/F-27 aircraft at a time.
- 9,271 ft long ILS runway at an elevation of 607feet.
- Pakistan State Oil provide fuel services to all airlines flying out of the airport.
- Many televisions/FIDS systems located in the lounges and briefing concourses showing television programs and flight information.
- Airport Mosque located outside the airport at the far end of the car park.
- Porter services and Rent-A-Car services (such as world reputable companies, Hertz) are available.
The following table provides details of the major traffic flows out of Faisalabad 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 ||Passengers (Intl & Domestic) ||Cargo handled (M. Tons) ||Mail handled (M. Tons)