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Zia International Airport

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Title: Zia International Airport  
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Zia International Airport

Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport
হজরত শাহজালাল আন্তর্জাতিক বিমানবন্দর
Hôjrot Shahjalal Antorjatik Bimanbôndor
Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport
Location of airport in Bangladesh
Airport type Public
Owner Bangladesh Government
Operator Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh
Serves Dhaka
Location Kurmitola
Hub for Biman Bangladesh Airlines
United Airways
Regent Airways
Elevation AMSL 27 ft / 8 m
Coordinates 23°50′34″N 090°24′02″E / 23.84278°N 90.40056°E / 23.84278; 90.40056 (Shah Jalal International Airport)Coordinates: 23°50′34″N 090°24′02″E / 23.84278°N 90.40056°E / 23.84278; 90.40056 (Shah Jalal International Airport)

Direction Length Surface
m ft
14/32 3,200 10,500 Concrete / Asphalt
Statistics (2012)
Passenger movements 5,600,000
Airfreight movements in tonnes 214,000
Source: Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh[1][2]

Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (Bengali: হজরত শাহজালাল আন্তর্জাতিক বিমানবন্দর Hôjrot Shahjalal Antorjatik Bimanbôndor ) (IATA: DACICAO: VGHS), formerly Zia International Airport and Dacca International Airport,[3] is the largest airport in Bangladesh. It is located in the capital Dhaka and started operations in 1980, taking over as the country's sole international airport from Tejgaon Airport. It is the home base and hub of all Bangladeshi airlines, including Biman Bangladesh Airlines, United Airways, Regent Airways and NovoAir.[3]

The airport has an area of 1,981 acres (802 ha). About 66% of the country's international and domestic arrivals and departures occur through this airport, while the country's second largest airport, Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong, accounts for nearly 21% of passengers. In 2012, it handled 5.6 million passengers, and 214,000 metric tons of air cargo.[4] The airport has a capacity of 8 million passengers per year,[5][6] and is predicted by the CAAB to be enough until 2026.[7] Currently 26 passenger airlines operate in the airport, connecting 36 cities both domestic and international. 10 cargo airlines operate cargo-only flights to the airport. Average aircraft traffic activity in the airport per day is around 190.[8]

State-airline Biman Bangladesh Airlines is the sole ground handling agency of the airport.[9] Biman flies from the airport internationally to 17 cities in Europe and Asia.[10]


The airport is located in Kurmitola and was originally 11 NM (20 km; 13 mi) north of the capital Dhaka.[11] It lies on the eight-lane Airport Road[11] To the north of the airport lies Uttara and Gazipur, while Dhaka city lies to its south. The railway station opposite to the airport is named Airport Railway Station.[12][13] The nearest hotel near Shahjalal International is the Dhaka Regency Hotel.[14]

Due to the expansion of the city, the airport has been engulfed by the city, prompting the government to consider relocating it elsewhere.[5]


In 1941, during the Second World War, the British government built a landing strip at Kurmitola, several kilometers north of Tejgaon, as an extra landing strip for the Tejgaon Airport, which at the time was a military airport, to operate warplanes towards the war fields of Kohima (Assam) and Burmese war theatres.[15][16]

After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Tejgaon Airport became the first civil airport in what was then East Pakistan, current day Bangladesh. In 1966 that a project was taken by the then Pakistan Government to construct a new airport at present site north of Kurmitola was selected and tender floated for construction of terminal building and runway under technical support of French experts. For transportation of construction materials a rail station (present airport railway station) was built near the site. However, the new airstrip was halfway done when the Bangladesh Liberation War broke out in 1971. During war, the airstrip suffered severe damage.

After independence, the government of Bangladesh restarted works abandoned by the previous contractors and consultants during the war. It decided to make the airport the country's principal international airport and appointed Aéroports de Paris of France as its new consultants. The airport began operations in 1980 after the main runway and central portion of the present terminal building was formally opened by then-President Ziaur Rahman as Dacca International Airport ("Dacca" is the former spelling of "Dhaka").[17][18] The project took a further three years to complete, during which time Ziaur Rahman was assassinated (in 1981), so, after its completion in 1983, then-President Abdus Sattar re-inaugurated the airport as Zia International Airport.[19]

In 2010, the government changed the airport's name once again, from Zia International Airport to Shahjalal International Airport, to honour Shah Jalal, one of Bangladesh's most respected Sufi saints.[20]

On December 6, 2011, ZA006, a Boeing 787 stopped for fuel at Shahjalal International Airport during a distance, speed, and endurance record attempt. This aircraft, powered by General Electric GEnx engines, had flown 10,710 nautical miles (19,830 km) non-stop from Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington eastward to Shahjalal International Airport, setting a new world distance record for aircraft in the 787's weight class, which is between 440,000 pounds (200,000 kg) and 550,000 pounds (250,000 kg). This flight surpassed the previous distance record of 9,127 nautical miles (16,903 km), set in 2002 by an Airbus A330. The aircraft then continued eastbound from Dhaka to return to Boeing Field, setting a world-circling speed record of 42 hours, 27 minutes.[21]

Development and expansion

In 1992, the airport terminal area experienced rapid expansion with addition of boarding bridges and equipment. A multistorey car park with space for 500 cars was also built at this time.

The airport has been set up and upgraded with technology and instruments worth BDT 70 million up to the 2nd quarter of 2012, by the CAAB. They include: instrument landing system, distance measuring equipment and flight calibration system, which will help the operational standards of the airport. 2 more boarding bridges have been operational, and another is under manufacturing.

Parking facilities are being upgraded, both for passenger and cargo aircraft, of the airport extension works of passenger and cargo aprons are also going on.[4] The project will cost BDT 440 million and will provide facility to park four wide-bodied passenger aircraft and two wide-bodied cargo aircraft side by side.[4] In recent years CAAB has completed modernisation and beautification of two terminal buildings; constructed five aircraft parking bays; Installed two more boarding bridges; re-installed power plant to ensure 24 hours power supply; added more passenger check-in and immigration counters and baggage conveyor belts.[4]

Second runway

A feasibility study is underway to decide about adding a parallel, second runway at a cost of BDT 10 billion by 2014.[4] The project has been taken to cope with the rising air traffic, and take pressure off the lone runway, to double the capacity of the airport. CAAB predicts that the airport's traffic will surpass 10 million passengers and freight. Currently, the airport can handle 10 flights an hour, 1 per 6 minutes. However, 60% of the airport's 2000 acre land remains unutilized.[23]

Terminals, airlines and destinations

The airport consists of three major terminals, T1 and T2 for international flights and a third terminal (known as Domestic Terminal) for domestic flights. The arrivals deck is the ground floor and the upper floor is the departures hall. A VIP terminal is built only about 200 meters from the main gate and is only used occasionally. A third international terminal will be built in the future.[4]


Cargo and freight

Accidents and incidents

  • On 28 September 1977, a Japan Airlines Flight 472 en route from Mumbai to Tokyo was hijacked by 5 Japanese Red Army terrorists shortly after takeoff, and forced the plane to land at then Zia International Airport.[24] The terrorists' demand of $6 million and release of 6 JRA terrorists from Japanese prison was met by the Japanese Prime Minister.[25] Bangladesh Air Force was deployed to control the situation in the ground and to facilitate negotiations.[24]
  • On 4 August 1984, a Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight from Chittagong crashed in the swamps near Zia International Airport.[26] All 45 passengers and 4 crew of the Fokker F27 died, making it the worst aviation disaster of Bangladesh. The flight was piloted by Kaniz Fatema Roksana, the first woman commercial pilot of Bangladesh.
  • On 22 April 2003, a storm damaged three Airbus A310s, a Boeing 737 and a Fokker F-28 aircraft parked at the airport. The storm, strongest in three years, had a wind speed of up to 111-km per hour.[27]
  • On 25 May 2008, a Saudia Flight SV-806 from Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport, Medina, made an unscheduled landing. During the roll the tower controller reported that he saw fire on the starboard wing. Upon exiting runway 14, the crew received a fire indication for engine number three. The fire extinguisher was activated, and all engines were shut down. The Boeing 747-357, which had been charred beyond repair, was successfully evacuated.[29] Only minor injuries had been incurred.[30] An investigation determined that there had been a fuel leak where the fuel enters the front spar for engine number three.[29]
  • On 30 April 2012, a Royal Thai Air Force ATR-72-500 aircraft of 1st Air Division/6th Wing, 603sq, (serial L16-2/52, code 60314), sustained damage in a landing accident at the airport. The airplane suffered a runway excursion while landing. It came to rest against a concrete barrier, causing substantial damage to the right hand wing. Two passengers reportedly suffered minor injuries.
  • On 5 April 2013, a fire broke out in the cargo village of the airport at around 11:30am.[31] Ten units of Fire Service and Civil Defence rushed to the spot and doused the fire after one-and-a-half-hour later. Flight schedules were unaffected by the fire.[32]
  • On 28 September 2013, a Boeing 747-400 (leased from Air Atlanta Icelandic), operated by Saudi Arabian Airlines as SV-3822, en route from Riyadh for a Hajj flight, landed in Dhaka when sparks and smoke was observed from the right hand main landing gear during roll out, the aircraft stopped on the runway. The airport was closed for about one hour as result of the emergency.[33]



External links

Dhaka portal
Aviation portal
  • Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh: Airports
  • Aerodrome information at the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh
  • Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Live Flight Tracking
  • Airport Armed Police

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