|Owner||Grazer Stadwerke AG|
|Operator||Flughafen Graz Betriebs GmbH|
|Elevation AMSL||340 m / 1,115 ft|
Graz Airport (IATA: GRZ, ICAO: LOWG), known as Flughafen Graz-Thalerhof in German, is a minor international airport in Graz, the second-largest city in Austria. It is located in the municipalities of Feldkirchen and Kalsdorf, 5 NM (9.3 km; 5.8 mi) south of Graz city centre and mainly serves flights to European leisure and some metropolitan destinations.
The construction of the airport began in 1913 with the construction of a grass runway and the first hangars; the airport saw its first flight in 1914. It was the site of the concentration camp, Talerhof, run by the governments of Franz Joseph I of Austria and Charles I of Austria. The first passenger domestic flight in Austria, in 1925, serviced the route Vienna–Graz–Klagenfurt. In 1937, the construction of a terminal building began due to increase in the number of passengers.
After the end of the Second World War, however, Austria was forbidden to possess an aviation fleet, either military or civil. After reopening of Austrian airspace in 1951, a new concrete runway of 1,500 metres (4,921 ft) was built in Graz. This runway was extended to 2,000 metres (6,562 ft) in 1962. The route network grew quickly and the first international scheduled flight started in 1966 with a connection to Frankfurt.
In 1969, the runway was again extended, this time to 2,500 metres (8,202 ft), and construction of a new, more modern terminal building became necessary. Special highlights of the airport were the landings of the Concorde in 1981 and the Boeing 747 on the occasion of its 70th anniversary of opening in 1984. Ten years later, another new building was constructed with a capacity of maximum 750,000 passengers per year. The latest extension of the runway was to 3,000 metres (9,843 ft) in 1998.
Development in the 2000s
In early 21st century, the number of passengers exceeded the 750,000-mark and in 2004 is just below 900,000. This led to the final extension of the current terminal building in 2003 and the construction of a second terminal in 2005. Total passenger traffic numbers for the year 2012 were 930,617.
In spring 2014 the airport's home carrier Austrian Airlines announced the closure of their ticketing and service counters at Graz Airport due to decreasing demand, additional services will be instead provided directly at the check-in counters.
In the last few years the airport has been struggeling with decreasing passenger numbers. While in 2008 the airport managed to welcome more than 1 million passengers at its single terminal, in 2013 just 881.740 people used the airport. Not only the discontinuation of flights by Ryanair in 2012, but also concurrence from neighbouring airports like Klagenfurt or Vienna are to blame for the shrinking passenger numbers.
However, by summer 2015, the airport receives two new routes to European hub airports. While Swiss International Air Lines will operate from Graz to Zürich Airport, Turkish Airlines announced flights to Istanbul Atatürk Airport.
Graz Airport consists of one modern passenger terminal building which features some shops, restaurants and service counters. The apron provides stands for aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 747. As there are no jet bridges, busses are used for boarding.
Airlines and destinations
The airport is within walking distance of Flughafen Graz-Feldkirchen railway station (about 4 minutes on foot, exit to the right of the platform), which lies on the Graz to Spielfeld-Straß line. The travel time to the airport from Graz main station is approximately 12 minutes by regional train.
Graz Airport is also reachable via motorways A9 (Exit Kalsdorf) and A2 (Exit Flughafen Graz/Feldkirchen).
- EAD Basic
- "Turkish Airlines Launches a New Route to Graz" (Press release). Turkish Airlines. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
Media related to Graz Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Current weather for LOWG at NOAA/NWS
- Accident history for GRZ at Aviation Safety Network