Benazir Bhutto International airport previously known as the Islamabad International Airport was renamed after the late Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto on 21 June 2008.It is the third-largest and busiest airport of Pakistan and serves Islamabad and Rawalpindi. It is located outside Islamabad in Chaklala, Rawalpindi. The airport hosts the V-VIPs, VIPs, foreign delegates, and business communities on frequent basis. In the year 2013–2014, over 4.279 million passengers used the airport through more than 34,000 scheduled flights of 18 different airlines.
Benazir Bhutto International Airport was known as Chaklala Airbase. It served as standby strip for the British Air force during the World War II.ISB commenced operation during 1948 when Pak Airways and Orient Airways commenced their operation with DC-3 and conveyor (DCA) type of aircrafts. In 1958, The Airport gained significant importance after the shifting of the capital from Karachi to Islamabad. In 1972, VVIP/VIP Lounges and Operational Control Centre were constructed and over a period of time various structural changes have been implemented within the available space.
In the year 1983, Domestic Arrival, International Departure and Arrival Lounges, Concourse Hall, Cargo Area and CAA Mosque constructed to facilitate the air passenger for domestic and international operations. Domestic Briefing Area & Concourse Hall was constructed in the year 2002 and as on today the airport is capable to handle all types of aircraft up to category E.
ISB hosts more than 25 airlines which include Air Arabia, Air Indus, China southern airlines, Emirates, Etihad airways, Flynas, gulf air, Kuwait airways, Pakistan international airlines, Qatar airways, Safi airways, Saudia, Thai airways international, Turkish airlines, air blue, air vista, icon air etc. It has 2 cargos namely TCS courier and Turkish airlines cargo.
The airport has not received awards but with upgraded facilities coming up, ISB is sure to get some awards in the coming years.
Routes and destinations
ISB serves both domestic and international passengers. It has flights to destinations like Karachi, Lahore, Dubai, and many major cities in the world.
Why fly with ISB?
How to check in-
· All International departing passengers are required to check the validity of passport and ticket information prior to the departure.
· Passengers are also required to check the information on security, immigration and customs from the airport website prior to the departure.
· Departing passengers are advised to arrive at the airport 01 to 02 hours (for Domestic Flights) and 04 hours (for International Flights) prior to the scheduled time of departure of the flight.
· Passengers can find the location of check-in counters for their respective airline on the display monitors located in briefing area on top of the briefing counters.
Baggage and allowance
· Generally two pieces of baggage are allowed for international travel, with the total weight not exceeding 20kg.
· Baggage larger than 90cm long, 75cm high and 60cm wide, or that does not have a single flat surface, will need to be checked in at the oversized baggage counter.
· Passenger baggage trolleys are available on complementary basis near the conveyer belt of departure lounges.
· The passenger may claim for damages caused by the destruction, damage, loss or delay of his baggage on a flight by a Pakistani airline, anywhere in the world.
ISB has constructed new terminals and the seating of the aircrafts differ accordingly.
Each airline has different booking charges based on convenience and requirements. Reservations are available in airlines like Air Blue, emirates, Gulf air, Kuwait airways, PIA, Qatar airways, Turkish airlines, Thai airlines, Air Indus etc. Cancellations of flights can be done easily.
Embarkation Fee for domestic passengers and international passengers is Rs.300 and Rs.2000 respectively. Government Taxes of Rs.5000 for Economy and Economy Plus passengers and Rs.10000 for Club, Business and First Class passengers will be levied In addition to Airport Taxes.
How to check out
· All arriving domestic passengers must enter the domestic arrival lounge, collect the respective baggage from the baggage belt and exit on to concourse hall and then board the transport to exit the airport
· All arriving international passengers are required to have valid traveling documents including their passport, visa and disembarkation form for immigration. Passengers who enter into the Pakistan are required to submit the disembarkation form at immigration desks.
· After immigration clearance, collect baggage from the respective Baggage Conveyer belt in the area at international arrival lounge.
Services and facilities
There are separate lounges for international and domestic economy passengers. The domestic and international lounges have been provided with facilities that include Wi-Fi Internet, snack bars, light refreshments, satellite plasma TVs, telephone and fax facilities, prayer room, ATM, money exchange and a global selection of newspapers, magazines etc. Assistance to Senior Citizens and Special Persons are available. Yellow cab taxi, radio cabs, local buses and vans are available to or from the airport.