Shahjalal International Airport
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Shahjalal International Airport

Hazrat Shahjalal
International Airport

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Shahjalal International Airport (03).jpg
Airport typePublic / Military
OwnerGovernment of Bangladesh
OperatorCivil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh
ServesDhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj
Hub for
Elevation AMSL27 ft / 8 m
Coordinates23°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)
DAC is located in Bangladesh
Location of airport in Bangladesh
Direction Length Surface
m ft
14/32 3,300 11,500 Asphalt
Statistics (2019)
Passenger movements18,681,474
Cargo handled (tonnes)517,940
Source: Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh[1][2]

Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, (Bengali: ? ?‌ ? Hôzrôt Shahjalal Antôrjatik Bimanbôndôr) (IATA: DAC, ICAO: VGHS (old: VGZR)), is the largest and most prominent international airport in Bangladesh. It is located in Kurmitola 11 miles (17 kilometres) from city centre, in the northern part of the capital city Dhaka and it is also a part of BAF Bangabandhu Base used by the Bangladesh Air Force. The airport has an area of 1,981 acres (802 ha). The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) operates and maintains the airport. It started operations in 1980, taking over from Tejgaon Airport as the principal international airport of the country and was formerly known as Dacca International Airport and later as Zia International Airport, before being named in honour of Shah Jalal, who is one of the most respected Sufi saints of Bangladesh. The IATA code of the airport "DAC" is derived from "Dacca", which is the previously used spelling for "Dhaka".

Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is the primary hub of the national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines. In addition, it is also the main hub of most of the private airlines in Bangladesh including Regent Airways, Novoair and US-Bangla Airlines. The annual passenger handling capacity of the airport is 18.5 million passengers[3][4] and this passenger handling capacity is predicted by CAAB to be sufficient until 2026.[5] In 2014 the airport handled 9.1 million passengers and 248,000 tonnes of cargo.[6] Average aircraft movement per day is around 190 flights.[7][8]Ground handling at the airport is provided by Biman Ground Handling, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines.[9]

Location and access

The airport is located in Kurmitola, 11 NM (20 km; 13 mi) north of the downtown Dhaka.[10] It can be accessed by the eight-lane Airport Road.[10] To the north of the airport lies Uttara and Gazipur, while Dhaka city lies to its south. There is a railway station immediately opposite to the airport named Airport Railway Station.[11][12] The hotel nearest to the airport is the Dhaka Radisson Blu Hotel, closely followed by Le Meridien Hotel and Dhaka Regency Hotel.[13] A Best Western hotel opened in late 2014.[14] The airport has been almost engulfed by the city, due to the expansion and development work of real estate companies and the government, prompting the authorities to consider relocating the airport elsewhere.[3]


International Terminal
Apron view

In 1941, during the Second World War, the British government built a landing strip at Kurmitola, several kilometres north of Tejgaon, as a spare 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 civilian airport in what was then East Pakistan, present day Bangladesh. In 1966 a project was taken by the then Pakistan Government to construct a new airport and the present site north of Kurmitola was selected. A tender was floated for the construction of the terminal building and the runway under the technical support of French experts. A rail station (present day Airport Railway Station) was also built near the site for the transportation of construction materials. However, the new airstrip was only 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. The government decided to make the airport the country's main 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. Thus 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, in honour of Shah Jalal, one of the most respected Sufi saints of Bangladesh.[20]

On 6 December 2011, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner (flight ZA006) stopped for refuelling 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 weight class of the 787, 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 Boeing 787 Dreamliner 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

Terminal interior

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 (US$830,000) 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. Asphalt runway overlay began in December 2012 by the Bangladeshi company Abdul Monem Ltd; it took 6 months to complete. Further improvements in the taxiway and runway lighting system will be made by funds from Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) worth (US$53 million). Further projects include: primary and secondary radar, a new control tower and a modern drainage system.[7][22] 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.[8] The project will cost (US$5.2 million) and will provide facility to park four wide-bodied passenger aircraft and two wide-bodied cargo aircraft side by side.[8] 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.[8]

In the recent years, the internal designs such as concourse, toilets and others parts were also upgraded. The duty-free shops brought in international luxury branded products. As part of the development plan, the first international chain cafe, Barista Lavazza was opened in the international terminal in 2014 followed by Krispy Kreme in 2017.

Third terminal

The construction work of the new third terminal will be completed by 2022 under the financial assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The expansion will include a passenger terminal with a floor area of roughly 226,000 square meters, as well as a 5,900 square meters VVIP complex, 41,200 square meters cargo building and multi-level car parking building with tunnel. Upon completion of the terminal, passenger handling capacity of the airport will increase to 20 million from current 8 million, and cargo handling capacity to 500,000 from 200,000 tonnes annually.[23][24]

Second runway

A feasibility study is underway to decide about adding a parallel, second runway at a cost of (US$120 million) by 2014.[8] 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 unutilised.[25]


The airport consists of three major terminals, T1 and T2 for international flights (located within same building), and a third terminal (known as Domestic Terminal) for domestic flights. In T1 and T2, the ground floor is used as the arrivals hall and the upper floor serves as the departures hall. Both the arrivals hall and the departures hall are on the same floor in the one-storey domestic terminal. A VIP terminal is built only about 200 meters from the main gate and is only used occasionally. A third international terminal is planned for construction.[8]

Airlines and destinations



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.[36] The terrorists' demand of $6 million and release of 6 JRA terrorists from Japanese prison was met by the Japanese Prime Minister.[37]Bangladesh Air Force was deployed to control the situation in the ground and to facilitate negotiations.[36]


  1. ^ "Aerodrome Information: Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka". Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh.
  2. ^ "Aerodrome Information: Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka (continued)". Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh.
  3. ^ a b Ahmad, Rashiduddin (29 September 2010). "New airport at Trishal: Flight of fancy or urban nightmare?". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2011.
  4. ^ Byron, Rejaul Karim (28 August 2010). "New int'l airport to cost Tk 50,000cr". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2011.
  5. ^ "AIRPORT DEVELOPMENT HISTORY". Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ "CAAB initiates efforts to expand and upgrade HSIA To build a new airport for Dhaka". The Bangladesh Monitor. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Shahjalal airport set for upgrade in two months". Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "CAAB initiates efforts to expand, upgrade HSIA to elevate its international standing". The Bangladesh Monitor. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  9. ^ "Ground Handling". Biman Bangladesh Airlines. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Dhaka - Airports". World Executive. Retrieved 2011.
  11. ^ "From Sylhet to Dhaka Airport by train". Retrieved 2015.
  12. ^ Dhaka Airport Road. Google Maps.
  13. ^ Dhaka Regency Hotel.
  14. ^ "Best Western International Signs Deal to Open Hotel at Dhaka Airport in Bangladesh". PRWeb. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  15. ^ Ahmed, Ershad (16 November 2006). "Zia International Airport, Dhaka".[unreliable source?]
  16. ^ Uddin, Syed Mohd Saleh (2012). "Airports". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  17. ^ "Dhaka". Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ Dhaka City :: everything about our city
  19. ^ "ZIA made Shahjalal International Airport". Retrieved 2015.
  20. ^ "ZIA made Shahjalal International Airport". The Daily Star. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 2011.
  21. ^ "Boeing". Retrieved 2015.
  22. ^ "Runway rebuilding work begins at Shahjalal airport". Retrieved 2015.
  23. ^ "Work order for HSIA's 3rd terminal by July: CAAB chairman". New Age. Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ "Tender for 3rd terminal at HSIA next month". The Independent. Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ "Feasibility study on 2nd runway at HSIA by June next year". The Financial Express. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  26. ^ "Biman Bangladesh adds Manchester from January 2020". Retrieved 2019.
  27. ^ "Biman's Dhaka-Madina flight begins 28 Oct". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2019.
  28. ^ "Himalaya Airlines direct flight to dhaka". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ "Indigo New Flights". Indigo.
  30. ^ "Regent Airways Flight schedule". Regent Airways.
  31. ^ a b "SpiceJet to kick off international flights from 25 July. Check routes here". India Today. 25 June 2019.
  32. ^ "US-Bangla Airlines adds Chennai service in 2019". Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ "Bismillah Airlines routes". Bismillah Airlines.
  34. ^ "Easy Fly Express routes". Easy Fly Express.
  35. ^ "Sky Capital Cargo destinations".
  36. ^ a b "JAL 1977 plane hijack in Dhaka: Japanese filmmaker to make documentary". Retrieved 2011.
  37. ^ "Japanese Red Army member's life sentence to stand". Japan Times. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  38. ^ "49 Die in Bangladesh As Plane Plunges". The New York Times. Reuters. 4 August 1984. Retrieved 2008.

External links

Media related to Shahjalal International Airport at Wikimedia Commons

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