Herat International Airport (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 third largest commercial airport after Hamid Karzai International Airport, and Kandahar International Airport.
The airport was originally built by engineers from the United States in the late 1950s. During the 1980s Soviet war, it was heavily used by the Soviets to launch bombardment missions on Mujahideen rebel forces. The airport was a base for military fighters and transport aircraft (likely Antonov An-26, Antonov An-32 and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21). The Taliban captured the city and airport in 1995. The airport was jet bombed by the anti-Taliban alliance on November 4, 1996. During the late 2001 Operation Enduring Freedom, it was bombed by US and/or British aircraft. On 12 November 2001, the 2001 uprising in Herat 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. From 2002 to 2005, the U.S.-led coalition forces ran international operations at the airport.
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. 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 National Army Air Corps, now Afghan Air Force, and the Afghan National Police. In recent years Italy has pledged 137 million Euros for the expansion of the airport. 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. In 2011 and the airport became known as Herat International Airport.
As of March 2018, the following airlines serve Herat International Airport:
|Ariana Afghan Airlines||Kabul|
|Iran Aseman Airlines||Charter: Mashhad|
|Kam Air||Delhi, Kabul, Tehran-Imam Khomeini|