Federal Minister for Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique inaugurates the recently reconstructed and upgraded main runway (18L/36R) of Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport. The project to rebuild and upgrade the runway was announced in December 2018. The upgraded runway now meets ICAO Cat 4F requirements enabling it to operate the world’s largest passenger aircraft Airbus A380.
In May 2019 the Secondary Runway 36L/18R was made available for flight operations so the main runway could be free but the runway remained in operation for a few more weeks. In June 2019 the main Runway 36R/18L was closed daily from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM for minor repairs.
Eventually, on 26th June a NOTAM was issued and the main runway was closed for flight operations. Initially, it was decided that from April 20, 2020, to October 19, 2021, all the reconstruction work will be completed. But it was not until 4 August 2020 that the reconstruction work on Lahore Airport’s main Runway 36R/18L started. It took almost 2 years for Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority to complete the degradation work.
In 1989, PIA introduced regular Boeing 747 flights for Lahore on then newly constructed Runway 36R/18L. Runway 36R/18L also allowed PIA to start flights to Europe and USA from Lahore for the first time. PIA started scheduled passenger flights for Lahore with Boeing 747 aircraft on September 28, 1989, on the Karachi-Lahore-Karachi route. Initially, the Boeing 747 was used once a week on this route.