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Iran's new gateway makes steady progress

BY: Gunter Endres
Jane's Airport Review
September 1, 1999

By the end of 2000, Tehran, capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran, will have a new US$1 billion airport capable of handling 4.5 million passengers and 120,000 tonnes of cargo. Work on the new Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA), being built 35km to the southwest of Tehran between the Qum and Saveh highways, started in 1994 and Phase I construction work is more than 60% complete. The new airport is the result of a report prepared by the Civil Aviation Organisation of Iran (CAO), which focused on traffic forecasts for the early years of the new millennium, and recognised the inability of the present Mehrabad Airport (THR) to be upgraded and expanded to meet expected growth levels for Iran's major gateway.

Of the US$1 billion cost for Phase I, US$600 million has so far been allocated by the Iranian government, to be topped up as required. Another US$100 million has been assigned to associated investment projects, which will be carried out by either private or public enterprises. These include aircraft hangars, in-flight catering, airport hotel, duty-free shops, fuel supply and passenger and cargo handling. Letters of interest are being elicited from local and foreign companies.

Aeroports de Paris (ADP) has been responsible for the master plan and preliminary design, and is undertaking supervision of procurement, installation, commissioning and testing of airport equipment and systems, as well as co-ordination and integration. Main contractors are two Iranian companies, Dey and Melli Sakhteman, both of which are affiliated to the Mostazafan and Janbazan Foundation (MJF).

Overall responsibility for the project rests with the Ministry of Roads and Transportation. Design and engineering is now 90% complete. Depending on the actual demand, the design allows for an expansion to 10 million passengers and 220,000 tonnes of cargo within five years, with a final phase scheduled to increase capacity to 20 million passengers and 452,000 tonnes of cargo.

The air traffic control tower and technical block are virtually complete, while the airfield area is also close to being finished. A small amount of land still needs to be purchased, but is unlikely to hamper further progress. The 56.9m high concrete control tower has an area of 1,100m[2], while the four-storey, glass-fronted associated technical block takes up 6,800m[2]. Navigation aids include the 755 DVOR (Doppler very-high frequency omnidirectional radio range) supplied by UK company Fernau, the 2020 DME (distance measuring equipment), and the Normarc ILS NM 7000 instrument landing system, providing the airport with CAT III approach and landing capability.

Phase 1 provides for a single 4,200 x 45m North Runway, constructed with 10.5m wide shoulders. The runway surface is largely made up from 530mm thick asphalt, with the exception of two 450m touchdown zones, which are formed from a 380mm thick concrete layer. A total of 12.8km of taxiways link up runways with passenger and cargo terminals, hangars, and a 30m wide engine test pad. More than 450,000m[2] of apron area is also constructed of 380mm concrete.

The passenger terminal is taking shape, with the graceful lines of the roof lending substance to the outline of the 78,357m [2] building. The three-level structure comprises a basement, departure and arrival halls at ground level, as well as a mezzanine arrivals floor. Public areas encompass restaurants and retail outlets. Fourteen airbridges provide the link between aircraft and piers and gate lounges. The terminal apron can accommodate a total of 24 aircraft. An 1,800-space enclosed two-storey car park is being built adjacent to the terminal, which can be reached via enclosed foot bridges. Two-level access roads serve to separate arriving and departing passengers. Supporting structures include administration, services, maintenance, airport police and security guard buildings, and there will be close to 100 residential buildings on a 10,000m[2] complex. Of these 47 have been completed, with the remainder to be erected as required.

The relatively remote location of the airport has made considerable demands on the supply of utilities. A branch line has to be laid from the main gas trunk line to the east of the Qum highway, while wells have to be drilled to supply the airport with water. This will be sufficient for the first few years of operations, but the eventual aim is to transfer and treat water from Tehran's reservoirs. Tehran Refinery is establishing a fuel supply through a new 250mm diameter pipeline, 33km long. Distribution of utilities around the airport will be facilitated with a 2,850m concrete tunnel 4m wide and 3.5m high. Some 200ha have been allocated for landscaping within the first phase, with extensions planned in future years.

The main power supply will be taken from a line passing to the west of the airport site and construction of a 230/20kV substation is under way. Telecommunications contracts have also been awarded and work is in progress to link the new airport to Mehrabad. Some 400 communication lines will be operational in the early years and are proposed to be increased to 2,000 lines in the future. Access to the airport will be via highways from the city of Qum and from the Saveh highway, a distance of some 20km to the passenger terminal. A rail connection linked to Tehran's metro network is also available. Access, re-circulation and security roads within the airport operational areas add up to a total length of 40km.


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