Herat International Airport

Herat International Airport, also known as Khwaja Abdullah Ansari International Airport,[5] (IATA: HEA, ICAO: OAHR) is located 10.5 km (6.5 mi) southeast of the city of Herat in western Afghanistan, east of the Herat-Farah road, close to Guzara in the Guzara District of the Herat Province. It is Afghanistan's fourth largest commercial airport after the Kabul International Airport in Kabul, the Ahmad Shah Baba International Airport in Kandahar and the Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi International Airport in Mazar-i-Sharif.[6]

Herat International Airport

Persian: میدان هوایی بین المللی هرات
Plane of Pamir Airways at Herat Airport in 2010.jpg
A Pamir Airways Boeing 737 jet parked at the airport in 2010
Airport typePublic/Military
OwnerGovernment of Afghanistan
OperatorGAAC Holding[1]
ServesHerat Province
Elevation AMSL3,290 ft / 1,003 m
Coordinates34°12′36″N 62°13′42″E / 34.21000°N 62.22833°E / 34.21000; 62.22833 (Herat Airport (Herat))
HEA is located in Afghanistan
Location of airport in Afghanistan
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18/36 9 888 3 014 Paved
Source: Landings.com,[3] AIP Afghanistan[4]


The airport was originally built in the 1960s by engineers from the United States.[2] It was used by the Soviet forces during the 1980s. The airport was a base for fighters and transport aircraft (likely Antonov An-26, Antonov An-32 and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21). After capturing the city, the Taliban took control of the airport in 1995. The airport was jet bombed by the anti-Taliban alliance on 4 November 1996.[7] On 12 November 2001, an uprising broke out, and the Taliban were ousted from the area. Elements of the U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 554 ("Texas 08") arrived at the airport soon afterwards, and in the words of the team's report: "...directly negotiate[d] with local commanders for the placement of multinational humanitarian assistance teams to be stationed" at the airport.[8] From 2002 to 2005, the U.S.-led coalition forces ran international operations at the airport.[citation needed]

In May 2005, responsibility was shifted to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), as part of the Stage 2 transition between the U.S.-led coalition and NATO. For 45 days a 47-person Tanker Airlift Control Element, primarily deployed from the 621st Contingency Response Wing, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. prepared the airport for the arrival of 300+ Italian troops as they assumed leadership over ISAF operations in the western regions of Afghanistan.[9] For this particular tasking, they supported two C-17 sorties every day. They also assisted the Italian aerial port in servicing coalition C-130s that landed at the airport.

ISAF use has continued since 2005, joined by the Afghan Air Force and the Afghan National Police. In recent years Italy has pledged 137 million Euros for the expansion of the airport.[6] As a result, the runway was extended and re-paved and a new international terminal, named after Captain Massimo Ranzani, a fallen Italian officer, was opened.[10] In January 2021, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani renamed the airport after Khwaja Abdullah Ansari.[5]

In August 2021, the Taliban seized control of the airport and other parts of Herat.[11]

Airlines and destinationsEdit

Ariana Afghan Airlines Kabul
Kam Air[12] Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Faiez, Rahim (9 September 2022). "Taliban: UAE Firm to Run Flight Services on Afghan Airports". The Diplomat. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  2. ^ a b Smith, Harvey Henry (1969). Area Handbook for Afghanistan (fourth ed.). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 36. The airports at Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz were built with United States assistance.
  3. ^ Airport record for Herat Airport at Landings.com. Retrieved 1 August 2013
  4. ^ "AIP - Important Information - Civil Aviation Authority". Archived from the original on 17 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b "President Ghani Names Herat International Airport after Khwaja Abdullah Ansari - English". Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Herat Airport to be Reconstructed". TOLOnews. 26 August 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  7. ^ "Issue Paper Afghanistan chronology of events January 1995-February 1997" (PDF). Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. February 1997. Retrieved 14 June 2019 – via justice.gov.
  8. ^ Dick Camp, 'Boots on the Ground: The Fight to Liberate Afghanistan,' Zenith Imprint, January 2012, 212.
  9. ^ Globalsecurity.org, Herat Airfield military role, accessed August 2013.
  10. ^ isafadmin. "New Herat airport terminal named after fallen Italian soldier - Resolute Support Mission". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  11. ^ "Taliban capture Lashkar Gah after Kandahar, take control of Herat airport in Afghanistan turmoil".
  12. ^ "Kam Air route map". Retrieved 29 May 2022.

External linksEdit