Gran Canaria Airport
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|Gran Canaria Airport
Aeropuerto de Gran Canaria
|IATA: LPA – ICAO: GCLP|
|Owner||Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea|
|Operator||Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea1|
|Location||Telde and Ingenio, Spain|
|Elevation AMSL||24 m / 78 ft|
Gran Canaria Airport (IATA: LPA, 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%). 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 of center of the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and 25 km (16 mi) from the popular tourist areas in the south.
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. 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.
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
|Passengers||Aircraft movements||Cargo (tonnes)|
|Source: Aena Statistics|
|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||Jet2.com, Monarch, Ryanair, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways.|
|10||Hamburg, Germany||151,915||Air Berlin, Condor, TUIfly.|
|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.|
|1||El Aaiun, Morocco||33,332||Binter Canarias, CanaryFly.|
|2||Boa Vista, Cape Verde||24,670||TACV, TUIFLY|
|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|
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.
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 . 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 Canarias – MACAN) 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. 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, 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.
- AENA passenger statistics and aircraft movements. Aena.es. Retrieved on 2011-08-02.
- Spanish AIP (AENA)[dead link]
- There is a programme to expand the airport building a new terminal and a new runway. Space Shuttle Emergency Landing Sites. Globalsecurity.org (2011-07-21). Retrieved on 2011-08-02.
- Gran canaria history on Aena[dead link]
- Yañez and Rodriguez 2008, p. 23.
- Orden DEF/1575/2007, de 28 de mayo, por la que se establecen las Comandancias Militares Aéreas de Aeropuerto y se fijan sus dependencias.
- *Página del Ministerio del Aire de España
- "Crash of the Century". Cineflix Productions.
Media related to Gran Canaria Airport at Wikimedia Commons