Manas International Airport

Manas International Airport
Manas International Airport
Bishkek airport.JPG
FRU is located in Kyrgyzstan
Location of airport in Kyrgyzstan
Airport type Joint (Civil and Military)
Location Bishkek
Elevation AMSL 2,058 ft / 627 m
Coordinates 43°03′40.7″N 74°28′39.2″E / 43.061306°N 74.477556°E / 43.061306; 74.477556
Direction Length Surface
ft m
08/26 13,780 4,200 Concrete

Manas International Airport (Kyrgyz: «Манас» эл-аралык аэропорту) (IATA: FRUICAO: UAFM) is the main international airport in Kyrgyzstan located 25 km (16 mi) north-northwest of the capital Bishkek.

The airport is operational 24 hours and its ILS system is ICAO CAT 2. Fog can cause heavy delays especially for long haul flights.[1]

It is also the site of the Transit Center at Manas, formerly known as Manas Air Base, a US Air Force base supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

In 2007, 625,500 passengers passed through the airport, an increase of 21% over the previous year. 23,172 tonnes of cargo were also processed in 2007.



The airport was constructed as a replacement for the old Bishkek airport that was located to the south of the city, and named after the Kyrgyz epic hero, Manas, at the suggestion of country's most prominent writer and intellectual, Chinghiz Aitmatov. The first plane landed at Manas in October 1974, with Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin on board. Aeroflot operated the airport's first scheduled flight to Moscow-Domodedovo on 4 May 1975.

When Kyrgyzstan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the airport began a slow but steady decline as its infrastructure remained neglected for almost ten years and a sizable aircraft boneyard developed; approximately 60 derelict aircraft from the Soviet era, ranging in size from helicopters to full-sized airliners, were left in mothballs on the airport ramp at the Eastern end of the field.

With the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, the United States and its coalition partners immediately sought permission from the Kyrgyz government to use the airport as a military base for operations in Afghanistan. Coalition forces arrived in late December 2001 and immediately the airport saw unprecedented expansion of operations and facilities.The derelict aircraft were rolled into a pasture next to the ramp to make room for coalition aircraft, and large, semi-permanent hangars were constructed to house coalition fighter aircraft. Additionally, a Marsden Matting parking apron was built along the Eastern half of the runway, along with a large cargo depot and several aircraft maintenance facilities. A tent city sprang up across the street from the passenger terminal, housing over 2,000 troops. The American forces christened the site "Ganci Air Base", after New York Fire Department chief Peter J. Ganci, Jr., who was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks. It was later given the official name of Manas Air Base.

In 2004, a new parking ramp was added in front of the passenger terminal to make room for larger refueling and transport aircraft such as the KC-135 and C-17.

Around the same time the Kyrgyz government performed a major expansion and renovation of the passenger terminal, funded in part by the sizable landing fees paid by coalition forces. Several restaurants, gift shops, and barber shops sprang-up in the terminal catering to the deployed troops.

The airport terminal underwent renovation and redesign in 2007. [2].The contemporary IATA codename FRU originates from the Soviet name of the city of Bishkek called then Frunze.

Other facilities

During its existence Kyrgyzstan Airlines had its head office on the airport property. On 2 January 2002 the airline moved its head office to the Kyrgystan Airlines Sales Agency building of Manas International Airport.[3] Previously the head office was also on the grounds of the airport.[4]

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations
Aero Asia International Karachi
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo
Aerosvit Kiev-Boryspil
Air Astana Almaty
Avia Traffic Company Almaty, Dushanbe, Isfana, Jalal-Abad, Mashhad [5], Novosibirsk, Osh, Tashkent
British Midland bmi London-Heathrow
China Southern Airlines Ürümqi
Donavia Rostov-on-Don
Iran Air Tours Mashhad
Iran Aseman Airlines Mashhad, Tehran-Imam Khomeini
Itek Air Moscow-Domodedovo, Ürümqi
Kyrgyzstan Batken, Delhi, Dubai, Dushanbe, Islamabad, Istanbul-Atatürk, Jalal-Abad, Kazarman, Kerben, Krasnoyarsk, Moscow-Domodedovo, Novosibirsk, Osh, Tashkent, Ürümqi, Yekaterinburg
Rossiya St Petersburg
S7 Airlines Novosibirsk
Somon Air Dushanbe
Tajik Air Dushanbe
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk
Uzbekistan Airways Tashkent


Airlines Destinations
Silk Way Airlines Baku
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Ataturk, Shanghai-Pudong

Incidents and accidents

  • In the predawn hours of 23 October, 2002, an IL-62 airliner operated by the Tretyakovo Air Transport Company crashed on takeoff after running off the end of the runway. There were no passengers aboard and all eleven crew members escaped, with only minor injuries. They were treated at the joint US Air Force and South Korean army clinic at Manas Air Base. The wreckage was bulldozed by Kyrgyz personnel and left at the site. Airport operations resumed before the crash site had finished smoldering.[6]
  • In November 2004, a civilian Boeing 747 cargo transport took a wrong turn from the runway towards the new Marsden Matting fighter ramp. The jumbo jet was too large and heavy to taxi forward onto the taxiway and with no ability to move in reverse it was effectively stuck in place with its tail section blocking the runway. Airport operations were halted for several hours until a tractor could tow the 747 into a position from which it could taxi to the parking ramp.
  • On 26 September, 2006, a Kyrgyzstan Airlines Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft taking off for Moscow-Domodedovo collided on the runway with a US Air Force KC-135 tanker that had just landed. The Tupolev, with 52 passengers and nine crew on board, lost part of its wing but was able to take off and return to make a safe landing with a 2.5m section of its wing missing. The KC-135, with three crew members and a cargo consisting entirely of highly-flammable jet fuel, caught fire and was destroyed. There were no injuries on either aircraft.[7]
  • On 24 August, 2008 an Itek Air Boeing 737 heading to Tehran with 90 people aboard crashed 3 km from the airport, killing 68. Twenty-two people, including two crew members, survived the crash. According to an airport official, the crew had reported a technical problem on board and were returning to the airport when the plane went down.[8]


External links

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