Heraklion International Airport

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Heraklion International Airport
“Nikos Kazantzakis”

Κρατικός Αερολιμένας Ηρακλείου
“Νίκος Καζαντζάκης”
HER is located in Greece
Location of airport in Greece
Airport type Public
Owner Greek Government
Serves Heraklion
Location Heraklion, Greece
Opened 1937 (1937)
Hub for
Focus city for Aegean Airlines
Elevation AMSL 115 ft / 35 m
Coordinates 35°20′23″N 25°10′49″E / 35.33972°N 25.18028°E / 35.33972; 25.18028Coordinates: 35°20′23″N 25°10′49″E / 35.33972°N 25.18028°E / 35.33972; 25.18028
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,682 8,800 Asphalt
12/30 1,566 5,138 Asphalt
Statistics (2013)
Passengers Increase 5,792,429
Aircraft Movements Increase
Freight handled
Sources: Runways[1] Statistics[2]

Heraklion International Airport, “Nikos Kazantzakis” (IATA: HERICAO: LGIR) is the primary airport on the island of Crete, Greece, and the country’s second busiest airport after Athens International Airport. It is located about 5 km east of the main city center of Heraklion, near the municipality of Nea Alikarnassos. It is a shared civil/military facility.

The airport is named after Heraklion native Nikos Kazantzakis, a Greek writer and philosopher.


The airport first opened in March 1939. This was then merely a piece of flat agricultural land. The first aeroplane (a Junkers Ju-52) carried the first passengers to the site. During the Second World War operations ceased, but in fall 1946 traffic re-assumed, introducing the DC-3 aircraft.[3]

At first, the airport only offered very basic service, with only primitive installations on the site, in the form of three tents, smoke for wind determination and storm lamps for runway lighting.

In 1947, the first (small) terminal was erected. Hellenic Airlines started commercial flights in 1948. At that time, a total of 4,000 people were served. The year 1953 saw the construction of a paved runway which was initially 1,850 meters long and oriented as 09/27. The next major event followed in 1954, when a four-engined DC-4 aircraft landed for the first time at the airport. In that year the airport handled approximately 18.000 passengers. From 1957 onward, the new Olympic Airways used the airport, starting services with the DC-6 aircraft.

From 1968 until 1971, the runway was extended to 2,680 meters and a new terminal and other facilities were constructed, essentially making it a new airport. On March 18, 1971, the first charter flight from abroad (British Airways) operated at the airport. The new airport itself was officially inaugurated on May 5, 1972.

Further events

Year Event
1973–1975 Construction of aircraft hangars and service roads
1988 Inauguration of new foreign departure and arrivals lounges (900 m2)
1992 Completion of new foreign arrivals lounge
1994 Operation of new foreign departures lounge (2,000 m 2)
1996 Completion of airport extension by 11,700 m2
1997 Operation of new foreign departures lounge (5,000 m2)
2005 Completion of airport extension by 18,985 m2


Nikos Kazantzakis Airport is Crete’s main and busiest airport, serving Heraklion (Ηράκλειο), Aghios Nikolaos (Άγιος Νικόλαος), Malia (Mάλλια), Hersonissos (Χερσόνησος), Stalida (Σταλίδα), Elounda (Ελούντα) and other resorts.

New airport[edit]

During the summer months the airport can become very congested. During this period it is not uncommon that passengers have to wait in queue for check-in outside the terminal.[citation needed] Therefore, a new airport at Kastelli Pediados has been planned. The project is originally expected to be completed by 2015. The cost of this airport will be approximately 1 billion euros. When the new airport is up and running, the existing airport at Heraklion will cease operations.[4][5]

Passenger information[edit]

It is often requested by airlines that passengers do not take any photographs or video of the runway.[6] This is because of a Hellenic Air Force base which operates at the airport.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
Aegean Airlines Athens, Thessaloniki
Summer seasonal: Berlin-Tegel, Brussels, Bordeaux, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg (begins 29 May 2014),[7] Larnaca (behins 2 July 2014), Lyon (begins 1 June 2014), Marseille, Moscow-Domodedovo, Munich, Mykonos (begins 14 June 2014), Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Rhodes, Saint Petersburg, Santorini (begins 14 June 2014), Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion, Vienna, Zurich (begins 28 May 2014)
Aeroflot Summer seasonal: Moscow-Sheremetyevo
operated by Rossiya
Summer seasonal: Saint Petersburg
Air Berlin Summer seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Berlin-Tegel, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Nuremberg, Zurich
Air Méditerranée Summer seasonal: Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Toulouse
Alitalia Summer seasonal:: Milan-Linate (begins 26 July 2014), Rome-Fiumicino (begins 26 July 2014)[8]
Arkefly Summer seasonal: Amsterdam
Austrian Airlines
operated by Tyrolean Airways
Summer seasonal: Vienna
operated by Blue Panorama Airlines
Summer seasonal: Catania, Rome-Fiumicino
Condor Summer seasonal: Berlin-Schönefeld, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Paderborn/Lippstadt, Stuttgart
Corendon Dutch Airlines Summer seasonal: Amsterdam, Brussels
Cyprus Airways Summer seasonal:Larnaca
EasyJet Summer seasonal: Berlin-Schönefeld, Bristol, Edinburgh, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, Manchester, Milan-Malpensa, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Rome-Fiumicino
EasyJet Switzerland Summer seasonal: Geneva
Edelweiss Air Summer seasonal: Zurich
Germania Summer seasonal:Düsseldorf, Erfurt-Weimar, Friedrichshafen (begins 25 Juni 2014)
Germanwings Summer seasonal: Berlin-Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hannover, Stuttgart
Finnair Summer seasonal: Helsinki
Jetairfly Summer seasonal: Brussels
Jet2.com Summer seasonal: East Midlands, Glasgow-International, Manchester, Leeds/Bradford, Newcastle upon Tyne
Livingston Summer seasonal: Rome-Fiumicino, Verona
Luxair Summer seasonal: Luxembourg
Meridiana Summer seasonal: Bologna, Milan-Malpensa, Verona
Minoan Air Alexandroupolis, Athens, Kos, Mytilene, Rhodes
Charter: Ioannina, Kavala
Mistral Air Summer seasonal: Naples
Monarch Airlines Summer seasonal: Birmingham, Leeds/Bradford, London-Gatwick, Manchester
Niki Summer seasonal: Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Vienna
Norwegian Air Shuttle Summer seasonal: Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda
SATA International Summer seasonal: Lisbon (Begins 21 July 2014) [9]
Sky Express Athens, Ikaria, Kos, Kythira, Mykonos, Mytilene, Rhodes, Sitia
SunExpress Deutschland Summer seasonal:Düsseldorf (begins 18 May 2014), Munich (begins 8 May 2014), Nuremberg (begins 8 May 2014), Stuttgart (begins 4 May 2014)
SmartWings Summer seasonal: Bratislava, Brno, Budapest, Prague
Swiss International Airlines Summer seasonal : Geneva
Thomas Cook Airlines Summer seasonal: Belfast-International, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow-International, East Midlands, London-Gatwick, London-Stansted (begins 3 June 2014),[10] Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Thomson Airways Summer seasonal: Birmingham, Cardiff, Dublin, East Midlands, Glasgow-International, London-Gatwick, London-Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Transaero Airlines Summer seasonal: Moscow-Domodedovo, Moscow-Vnukovo, St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg
Transavia.com Summer seasonal: Amsterdam, Groningen, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Rotterdam
Transavia.com France Summer seasonal: Lyon, Nantes, Paris-Orly
TUIfly Summer seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Nuremberg, Zweibrücken
Ural Airlines Summer seasonal: Yekaterinburg
Volotea Summer seasonal: Bari (Begins 23 June 2014), Venice-Marco Polo
Vueling Summer seasonal: Barcelona, Rome-Fiumicino (Begins 23 June 2014)
Wizz Air Summer seasonal: Budapest (begins 4 June 2014), Warsaw-Chopin (begins 1 June 2014)

Destinations map[edit]

Summer seasonal charter flights[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Adria Airways Ljubljana
Aegean Airlines Basel/Mulhouse, Belfast-International (begins 20 June 2014), Bucharest-Henri Coandă, Bologna, Cluj-Napoca, Deauville, Graz, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Kassel, Kazan, Linz, Metz/Nancy, Nantes, Rostov-on-Don, Timișoara, Toulouse, Warsaw-Chopin, Verona, Yerevan
airBaltic Riga
Blue Air Bacău (begins 14 June 2014)
Air Bucharest Bucharest, Iași
Air Serbia Belgrade
AlbaStar Milan-Malpensa
Arkia Israel Airlines Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion
Austrian Airlines
operated by Tyrolean Airways
Graz, Innsbruck
Aviatrans Kiev Kiev, Odessa
Bingo Airways Warsaw-Chopin
BlueBird Airways Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen, Moscow-Vnukovo, Ufa, St Petersburg, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion
Blue Panorama Airlines Bologna, Milan-Malpensa
Bulgaria Air Sofia
Enter Air Bydgoszcz, Katowice, Lodz, Poznań, Warsaw-Chopin
Europe Airpost Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Finnair Helsinki
Germania Erfurt
Hamburg Airways Dresden, Friedrichshafen, Münster/Osnabrück
Holidays Czech Airlines Brno, Ostrava, Prague
Israir Airlines Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion
Jet Time Copenhagen
Jetairfly Liège, Lille, Ostend/Bruges
Livingston Milan-Malpensa
LOT Charters Warsaw-Chopin
Meridiana Turin, Verona
Neos Milan-Malpensa, Verona
NordStar Moscow-Domodedovo, Norilsk [11]
Nordwind Airlines Belgorod (begins 6 May), Barnaul, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk-Yemelyanovo
Novair Stockholm-Arlanda
Orbest Orizonia Airlines Madrid
Orenair Moscow-Domodedovo, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg
Polet Airlines Voronezh
SAMair Bratislava
Small Planet Airlines Budapest, London-Gatwick, Milan-Malpensa, Vilnius, Warsaw-Chopin
SmartLynx Airlines Riga
SprintAir Wroclaw
Sun d'Or Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion
SunExpress Deutschland Hanover (begins 19 May 2014)
TAROM Bucharest-Henri Coandă
Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium Brussels, Liège
Trawel Fly
operated by Mistral Air
Travel Service Budapest, Dublin, Poznań, Prague, Warsaw-Chopin
TUIfly Nordic Helsinki
Ukraine International Airlines Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kiev-Boryspil, Lviv, Odessa

XL Airways France Lyon, Paris-Charles de Gaulle

Traffic figures[edit]

Annual passenger throughput - 11 year history[2]

Year Flights Passengers Passengers Change (%)
2001 39,290 5,046,726 Decrease -2.0
2002 36,664 4,791,729 Decrease -5.1
2003 39,523 4,833,507 Increase +0.9
2004 38,170 4,712,508 Decrease -2,5
2005 38,266 4,932,911 Increase +4.7
2006 43,740 5,345,652 Increase +8.4
2007 46,012 5,438,369 Increase +1.7
2008 45,280 5,437,068 Decrease -0.02
2009 44,842 5,052,840 Decrease -7.1
2010 42,396 4,907,337 Decrease -2.9
2011 44,520 5,292,687 Increase +7.9
2012 40,856 5,076,329 Decrease -4.6
2013 ----- 5,792,429 Increase +14.7
2014 1,232 116,293

Other facilities[edit]

The airline Bluebird Airways has its head office at the airport.[12]


  1. ^ "Nikos Kazantzakis". WorldAeroData. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Statistical data of Iraklion airport "N. Kazantzakis" for the period 1994-2012" (XLS). Hellenic Civilian Aviation Authority. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Heraklion Airport History". www.heraklion-airport.info. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Article from oriste.com: "New airport Iraklio Crete in Kastelli Pediados"
  5. ^ Article from oriste.com: "Construction of Iraklio airport in Kastelli Pediados"
  6. ^ Heraklion Airport, HER, Crete | International Airport in Greece. Heraklionairport.net (2010-03-26). Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
  7. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2013/09/24/a3-s14update1/
  8. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2014/03/25/az-jun14/
  9. ^ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=675257905870162&set=a.478790142183607.112427.476290915766863&type=1&theater
  10. ^ Choose Flights. Fly Thomas Cook (2012-10-01). Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
  11. ^ VQ-BDO, Boeing 737-800, NordStar Airlines - Large size. airpics.net. Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
  12. ^ "Contact." (Archive) Bluebird Airways. Retrieved on 19 September 2012. "Offices: Heraklion International Airport "N.Kazantzakis" - Address in Greek: "Γραφεία: Κρατικός αερολιμένας Ηρακλείου Νίκος Καζαντζάκης"

External links[edit]

Media related to Heraklion International Airport at Wikimedia Commons