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Gran Canaria Airport

Gran Canaria Airport
Aeropuerto de Gran Canaria
Airport type Public
Owner Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea
Operator Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea1
Serves Gran Canaria
Location Telde and Ingenio, Spain
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 24 m / 78 ft
LPA is located in Canary Islands
Location within the Canary Islands
Direction Length Surface
m ft
03L/21R 3,100 10,171 Asphalt concrete
03R/21L 3,100 10,171 Asphalt concrete
Statistics (2013)
Passengers 9,770,253
Passenger change 12-13 Decrease1.2%
Aircraft Movements 95,483
Movements change 12-13 Decrease4.9%
Sources: Passenger Traffic, AENA[1]
Spanish AIP, AENA[2]

Gran Canaria Airport (ICAO: GCLP), (sometimes also known as Gando Airport and frequently, but incorrectly, referred to as "Las Palmas Airport"), (Spanish: Aeropuerto de Gran Canaria) is a passenger and freight airport on the island of Gran Canaria. It is an important airport within the Spanish air-transport network (owned and managed by a public enterprise, AENA), as it holds the fifth position in terms both of passengers and cargo transported, and fourth in terms of operations. It is also ranks first of the Canary Islands in all three categories.

In 2011 it handled over 10.5 million passengers, an 11.1% increase compared to 2010, and 23,7 million tonnes of cargo (-3,5%).[1] Gran Canaria Airport remains as a relevant connecting airport for passengers travelling to West Africa (Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Cape Verde, among others) and to the Atlantic Isles of Madeira and the Azores. It is the operative base for Binter Canarias, NAYSA, Islas Airways, Ryanair and Norwegian Air Shuttle. Other airlines operate a base for connecting charter flights to Cape Verde and Gambia (TUIfly and TUIfly Nordic), only in winter season.

The airport is located in the eastern part of Gran Canaria on the Bay of Gando (Bahía de Gando), 19 km (12 mi) south[2] of center of the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and 25 km (16 mi) from the popular tourist areas in the south.

The airport was an official alternative (emergency) landing site for the NASA Space Shuttle, before the ending of Space Shuttle programme in July 2011.[3]


  • History 1
  • Terminal 2
  • Airlines and destinations 3
    • Passenger 3.1
    • Cargo 3.2
  • Statistics 4
  • Ground transportation 5
  • Military use 6
  • MPAIAC bombing and Tenerife disaster 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


In 1919, Frenchman Pierre George Latécoère was granted clearance from the French & Spanish governments to establish an airline route between Toulouse & Casablanca. This also included stopovers in Malaga, Alicante and Barcelona.

The airport opened on 7 April 1930, after King Alfonso XIII signed a royal order announcing that the military air force installations on the Bay of Gando would become a civilian airfield. In its existence, the airport has become the largest gateway into the Canary Islands, as well as the largest in terms of passenger and cargo operations.

In 1946, the old passenger terminal opened, which took two years to build.[4] In 1948 a runway was built, which was completed and fully tarmaced in 1957.

In 1963, improvements to the airport were made. This included new parking spaces, enlargement of the terminal and the provision of a visual approach slope indicator system. In 1964, a transmission station was built. In 1966 a new control tower was completed, replacing the old control tower that was constructed in 1946.

In 1970, work began on the current passenger terminal that is being used to operate flights today. The new terminal opened in March 1973. During this time, a second runway was being built, and this was completed in 1980.

On 18 February 1988, Binter Canarias announced that the airline's main base was to be established at Gran Canaria. The base opened on 26 March 1989.

In October 1991, the terminal was enlarged with improved facilities so it could handle more passengers.

In December 2010, low cost carrier Ryanair announced the opening of 3 new bases on the Canary Islands. In addition to Gran Canaria these include Lanzarote and Tenerife South. Ryanair presently operates 30 routes from Gran Canaria.

Currently Gran Canaria airport is under renovation. Among the improvements are increasing the number of baggage belts, 16 to 24, check-in counters from 96 to 132, and gates, up to 40. The new terminal area will be fully active in 2014 doubling the previous area. There is also a plan for the building of a new runway for the airport.


Gran Canaria Airport terminal building (including 2014 extension)

The airport has one terminal which opened in March 1973. It was later extended in October 1991 to increase passenger traffic. Despite being a building of historical interest, in 2013 the old passenger terminal building, originally opened in 1946, was demolished to make way for a further extension which opened in 2014.

There are four check-in zones identified by the numbering of the check-in desks. Desks in the range from 101 to 118 are in the newest part of the airport (which opened on 16 July 2014) and serve exclusively flights operated by CanaryFly and Binter Canarias (mainly inter-island flights between the Canary Islands or to Morocco). Desks in the range from 201 to 234 are located in the first part of the "new" airport which opened in 1973. This area is currently providing "overflow" capacity to the 300 zone as no handling agent has, as yet, relocated their check-in operations to this zone following its recent refurbishment. Desks in the range from 301 to 352 are in the second part of the "new" airport which originally opened in 1991 and are used for flights handled by Iberia and Ground Force (Globalia Handling). Desks in the range from 401 to 406 are located downstairs between the police station and the car rental offices (Hertz, Europcar, CICAR, Top Car AutoReisen, Gold Car and Avis Rent a Car System ) and are used exclusively by Ryanair.

The terminal departures area is split into three zones. Zone C is for European Union flights, Zone D is for international flights outside the European Union and Zone A is for flights to the other Canary Islands.

Airlines and destinations


Airlines Destinations Zone
Aer Lingus Dublin
Seasonal: Cork
Air Berlin Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Munich, Hamburg, Nuremberg
Seasonal: Dresden, Hanover, Leipzig/Halle, Stuttgart
Air Europa Asturias, Bilbao, Madrid, Málaga, Santiago de Compostela, Seville
Seasonal Charter: Cork, Hamburg
Air VIA Charter: Bremen, Münster/Osnabrück, Zweibrücken A
Arkefly Amsterdam A
Austrian Airlines
operated by Tyrolean Airways
Linz, Salzburg, Vienna A
Binter Canarias
operated by Air Nostrum
Dakar B
Binter Canarias
operated by Naysa
Lisbon, Funchal A
Binter Canarias
operated by Naysa
Agadir, Banjul, Casablanca, El Aaiún, Marrakech, Praia B
Binter Canarias
operated by Naysa
El Hierro, Fuerteventura, La Gomera, La Palma, Lanzarote, Tenerife-North, Tenerife-South C
Blue Panorama Airlines Charter: Milan-Malpensa A
British Airways Seasonal: London-Heathrow, London-Gatwick (begins 29 March 2015) A
CanaryFly Dakhla, El Aaiún, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Nouadhibou, Tenerife-North B, C
Condor Berlin-Schönefeld, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Paderborn/Lippstadt, Stuttgart, Hanover A
Corendon Airlines Amsterdam A
easyJet London-Gatwick A
easyJet Switzerland Basel/Mulhouse A
Edelweiss Air Zürich A
EuroAtlantic Airways Lisbon A
Europe Airpost Charter: Paris-Orly, Rouen A
Finnair Helsinki, Oulu A
Germania Bremen, Erfurt-Weimar
Seasonal: Münster/Osnabrück (begins 3 May 2015), Rostock
Charter: Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden [5]
Germanwings Stuttgart, Cologne/Bonn A
Hamburg Airways Charter: Dresden, Friedrichshafen, Hamburg A
Iberia Dakar, Madrid, Nouakchott A
operated by Air Nostrum
Seasonal: Alicante, Badajoz, Granada, León, Santander, Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca, Valencia, Valladolid A Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Seasonal: Belfast-International (begins 12 May 2015), East Midlands
Jetairfly Brussels, Charleroi, Liège, Ostend A
Jet Time Charter: Copenhagen A
Luxair Luxembourg A
Lufthansa Seasonal: Munich[6] A
Meridiana Rome-Fiumicino (begins 20 December 2014) A
Mauritania Airlines International Nouadhibou, Nouakchott B
Monarch Airlines Birmingham, Manchester A
Neos Seasonal: Milan-Malpensa, Verona A
Niki Salzburg, Vienna
Seasonal: Graz
Nordwind Airlines Seasonal Charter: Moscow-Sheremetyevo B
Norwegian Air Shuttle Berlin-Schönefeld, Bodø, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Harstad/Narvik, Hamburg, Helsinki, London-Gatwick, Munich, Moss, Oslo-Gardermoen, Oulu, Sandefjord (ends March 25, 2015), Stavanger-Sola, Stockholm-Arlanda, Tromsø, Trondheim-Værnes, Warsaw-Chopin
Seasonal: Haugesund, Karlstad, Malmö, Umeå
Novair Charter: Stockholm-Arlanda A
Primera Air Charter: Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda
Seasonal Charter: Helsinki
Privilege Style
operated by Swiftair
Porto A
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca, El Aaiún B
Ryanair Barcelona, Bergamo, Bilbao, Birmingham, Bremen, Bournemouth, Bristol, Charleroi, Dublin, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, East Midlands, Liverpool, London-Stansted, Madrid, Manchester,[8] Pisa, Prestwick, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Valencia, Weeze, Warsaw–Modlin
Seasonal: Cork, Knock, London Luton, Porto, Santander
SATA Air Açores Funchal, Ponta Delgada, Porto Santo A
Scandinavian Airlines Oslo-Gardermoen, Copenhagen (begins November 2014)
Charter: Haugesund, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Stockholm-Arlanda, Trondheim
operated by Travel Service Airlines
Prague A
SunExpress Deutschland Düsseldorf A
Thomas Cook Airlines Belfast-International, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, Glasgow, London-Gatwick, London-Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne A
Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium Brussels, Liège, Ostend A
Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia Billund, Copenhagen, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Helsinki, Karlstad, Oslo-Gardermoen, Malmö, Stockholm-Arlanda, Stockholm-Skavsta A
Thomson Airways Birmingham, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Doncaster/Sheffield, Dublin, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, London-Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Seasonal: Belfast-International, Bristol, Exeter
Transaero Airlines Seasonal Charter Moscow-Domodedovo B
Transavia Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Groningen, Rotterdam/The Hague A
Transavia France Seasonal Charter: Paris-Orly A
Travel Service Airlines Seasonal Charter Dublin, Oslo-Gardermoen, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Poznań, Stockholm-Arlanda, Warsaw-Chopin A
Travel Service Hungary Seasonal Charter Budapest A
TUIfly Basel/Mulhouse, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich, Nuremberg, Saarbrücken (begins 1 May 2015), Stuttgart
Seasonal: Boa Vista, Sal
TUIfly Nordic Charter: Helsinki, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda, Billund, Kuopio, Malmö, Oulu, Umeå, Vaasa A
Volotea Nantes (begins 20 December 2014) A
Vueling A Coruña, Barcelona, Bilbao, Málaga, Paris-Orly, Seville A
XL Airways France Seasonal: Paris-Charles de Gaulle A
White Airways Charter Lisbon A


Airlines Destinations
Swiftair Madrid


Passengers Aircraft movements Cargo (tonnes)
2000 9,376,640 98,063 43,706
2001 9,332,132 93,291 40,860
2002 9,009,756 93,803 39,638
2003 9,181,229 99,712 40,050
2004 9,467,494 104,659 40,934
2005 9,827,157 110,748 40,389
2006 10,286,726 114,949 38,360
2007 10,354,903 114,355 37,491
2008 10,212,123 116,252 33,695
2009 9,155,665 101,557 25,994
2010 9,486,035 103,087 24,528
2011 10,538,829 111,271 23,679
2012 9,892,067 100,393 20,601
2013 9,770,253 95,483 18.781
Source: Aena Statistics[1]
Busiest European Routes from Gran Canaria (2013)
Rank City Passengers Top Carriers
1 Oslo Gardermoen, Norway 344,066 Norwegian Air Shuttle, SAS, Thomas Cook Scandinavia, TUIfly Nordic.
2 Düsseldorf, Germany 284,381 Air Berlin, Condor, Germanwings, Ryanair, TUIfly.
3 Stockholm Arlanda, Sweden 282,128 Norwegian Air Shuttle, Novair, Thomas Cook Scandinavia, TUIfly Nordic.
4 Amsterdam, Netherlands 272,572 Arkefly, Corendon Airlines, Transavia.
5 Helsinki, Finland 233,043 Air Finland, Finnair, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Thomas Cook Scandinavia, TUIfly Nordic.
6 London Gatwick, United Kingdom 219,831 easyJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways.
7 Frankfurt, Germany 189,384 Air Berlin, Condor, Ryanair, TUIfly.
8 Copenhagen, Denmark 183,623 Norwegian Air Shuttle, Thomas Cook Scandinavia, TUIfly Nordic.
9 Manchester,United Kingdom 177,156, Monarch, Ryanair, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways.
10 Hamburg, Germany 151,915 Air Berlin, Condor, TUIfly.
Busiest Domestic Routes from Gran Canaria (2011)
Rank City Passengers Top Carriers
1 Madrid-Barajas, Community of Madrid 1,459,672 Air Europa, Iberia, Ryanair.
2 Tenerife, Canary Islands 698,650 Binter Canarias.
3 Fuerteventura, Canary Islands 603,999 Binter Canarias.
4 Lanzarote, Canary Islands 602,409 Binter Canarias.
5 Barcelona, Catalonia 416,051 Ryanair, Vueling Airlines.
6 Sevilla, Andalusia 188,138 Air Europa, Ryanair, Vueling Airlines.
7 La Palma, Canary Islands 117,128 Binter Canarias.
8 Malaga, Andalusia 101,901 Air Europa, Vueling Airlines.
9 Bilbao, Basque Country 87,682 Air Europa, Vueling Airlines.
10 Santiago de Compostela, Galicia 84,327 Air Europa, Ryanair.
Busiest African Routes from Gran Canaria (2011)
Rank City Passengers Top Carriers
1 El Aaiun, Morocco 33,332 Binter Canarias, CanaryFly.
2 Boa Vista, Cape Verde 24,670 TACV, TUIFLY
3 Dakar, Senegal 23,140 Iberia.
5 Sal, Cape Verde 22,523 TACV, TUIFLY
6 Nouadhibou, Mauritania 18,135 CanaryFly, Mauritania Internacional Airways.
7 Praia, Cape Verde 10,712 TACV
8 Marrakech, Morocco 9,934 Binter Canarias
9 Agadir, Morocco 9,648 CanaryFly
10 Dakhla, Morocco 3,175 CanaryFly

Ground transportation

The airport can be reached by several island roads from all points in the island. There are special bus service from most towns in Gran Canaria, but access by taxi is usual.

Gran Canaria's main motorway GC1 runs past the airport providing transport links to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the North and to the tourist resorts in the South.

Military use

There is an airbase of the Spanish Air Force to the east of the runways. Beyond several hangars opposite to the passenger terminal, the Gando Air Base (Base Aérea de Gando) contains ten shelters situated on the southern end of the eastern runway. They harbor the Ala 46 with F/A-18 Hornets, Eurofighter Typhoon, CASA 212 and the Eurocopter AS 532 and Fokker F27 of SAR .[9] Ala 46 or 46 Wing, composed of 462 and 802 fighter squadron, defends the Spanish airspace around the Canary Islands. It is one of the biggest and most important air bases of the Spanish Air Force and unique by the big diversity of aeroplane that it operates.

Military activity was most intense during the mid 1970s, at the time of the crisis of decolonisation of Western Sahara and its occupation by Morocco. Military crises in Western Africa, like the 2013 Mali intervention by France, made Gando Air Base the main air platform for operations in Western Africa area by NATO. In 2006 Spain proposed Gando Air Base as headquarters for the newly created US Africa Command (AFRICOM), but the AFRICOM HQ was ultimately based in Stuttgart (Germany).

The Canary Islands Air Command (Mando Aéreo de CanariasMACAN) is based in the city of Las Palmas. Canary Islands Air Command is the only territorial general Air Command Air Force in Spain; its mission is the maintenance, preparation, and command of air units located in the Canary archipelago.[10][11] Any Spanish military airplane that lands in the Canary Islands is immediately put at the disposal of the Canary Islands Air Command, who can retain it and use it as long as necessary for missions within the islands. This happens sometimes with heavy military transport, antisubmarine warfare and early warning airplanes; the islands do not have these on a permanent basis. Once the plane is released by the Canary Islands Air Command, it can leave the Canary Islands and reverts to the Air Force Commands of mainland Spain.

The deployment base of Gando Air Base is the Lanzarote Military Airfield (Aeródromo Militar de Lanzarote). Lanzarote Military Airfield has permanently its own Air Force troops platoons and the radar for the air defence (the EVA 22, which covers the Eastern Canary Islands and the maritime area up to the Sahara), but it has no permanently based military planes, using the ones from Gando.

MPAIAC bombing and Tenerife disaster

See also Tenerife airport disaster

At 1:15 PM on 27 March 1977, a bomb planted by the Movement for the Independence and Autonomy of the Canaries Archipelago (MPAIAC) exploded in a florist's shop on the terminal concourse. Ten minutes' warning was given to the airport authorities,[12] who started to evacuate the building; the inside of the terminal was damaged and eight people were injured, one seriously. A later telephone call claimed responsibility for the explosion and hinted that a second bomb had been planted somewhere in the terminal building; the airport was closed and searched, necessitating the diversion of several incoming flights, including a number of large aircraft on long international flights, to Los Rodeos airport (later named Tenerife North Airport) on the nearby island of Tenerife. The resulting runway congestion on the small regional airport was a factor in the subsequent disaster at Los Rodeos, when just after 5pm two Boeing 747s originally bound for Gran Canaria collided on the Los Rodeos runway, resulting in 583 deaths, the worst aviation accident in history.


  1. ^ a b c AENA passenger statistics and aircraft movements. Retrieved on 2011-08-02.
  2. ^ a b Spanish AIP (AENA)
  3. ^ There is a programme to expand the airport building a new terminal and a new runway. Space Shuttle Emergency Landing Sites. (2011-07-21). Retrieved on 2011-08-02.
  4. ^ Gran canaria history on Aena
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ New Manchester route
  9. ^ Yañez and Rodriguez 2008, p. 23.
  10. ^ Orden DEF/1575/2007, de 28 de mayo, por la que se establecen las Comandancias Militares Aéreas de Aeropuerto y se fijan sus dependencias.
  11. ^ *Página del Ministerio del Aire de España
  12. ^ "Crash of the Century". Cineflix Productions.

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • Official website
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