History of Bacha Khan International Airport, Peshawar
Strategically situated in the heart of Peshawar, Bacha Khan International Airport
is located approximately 180 km from Islamabad (federal capital of Pakistan) which
makes it about two hours drive from the capital via the state-of-the-art M-1 motorway.
The airport also has quite a rich history compared to other airports within Pakistan.
Since Peshawar is the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, it provides world
connections for the majority of the northwest region of the country and adjoining
areas of Afghanistan. Since the province has a large Afghan Pashtun community residing
within KPK, Afghanistan flights have always been on the rise with family either
visiting relatives across the border or wanting to seek a better quality of life
in Pakistan. The airport traces its origins to 1927 when there was a small airfield
that catered to much of the British Empire and aircraft that were either travelling
onwards to the east (e.g. to China and Malaya/Singapore) or west (e.g. Europe and
America). For this reason the city was given the nickname "Gateway to the East"
because it linked the traditional oriental culture to modern occidental traditions.
The airport only gained much importance after the independence of Pakistan from
the British Raj. The Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan (CAA) and the Pakistan
Air Force started to use the airfield jointly for both military and civil operations.
There were countless flights operated to and from Pakistan's largest city, Karachi,
as well as other cities within the newly formed state. The airport achieved international
status in 1965 when the first flight was operated from Kabul, Afghanistan to Peshawar.
The flight was operated by the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines
(PIA). As years went on the airport grew with more flights and aircraft and relative
upgrade was carried out from time to time. It was not until 1981 that the CAA extended
the terminal to meet future needs for the next decade and to meet the estimated
growth of passengers. The apron was developed fully by 1986, where the airport was
able to handle four wide body aircraft and two small narrow body aircraft at one
time.In January 2008 the provincial government meet to discuss the expansion work
needed to upgrade the quality of the aircraft in terms of facilities, terminal modernisation
and cargo growth. In June 2008 the Deputy Director General of the CAA, Air Vice
Marshal Sajid Habib, said that five billion rupees have been allocated to expand
and develop Peshawar airport.
Peshawar is a major passenger hub with 75% flights internationally bound. The airport
is currently under evaluation to be upgraded to make it compatible with future needs
of the geographical location. The CAA is currently working with the provincial government
to develop the airport to meet international standards. The airport has several
facilities to handle the normal needs of passengers such as telephone calling (domestic/international)
booths, money exchange facilities, automatic teller machines, Internet stations
(powered by Wateen), information counters, gifts and souvenir shops, snack shops,
rent a car services, as well as a post office. At present the following technical
features are available at the airport.
9,000 feet (2,700 m) long, 150 feet (46 m) wide with 10-feet-wide (3.0 m) shoulders
on either sides corresponding to International Civil Aviation Organization Category
4E. It is crossed by a (non-operational) railroad track, the only such runway in
For passengers and cargo. Combination of flexible and rigid pavements.
Nose-in parking for 4 wide-bodied aircraft at a time or 3 Airbus and 2 narrow body
aircraft at a time.