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 (2014[1])
Passengers Increase 6,092,054
Aircraft Movements Increase 43,637
Sources: Runways[2] Statistics[3]

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. 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.


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.[4]

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

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.[5][6]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
Aegean Airlines Athens, Thessaloniki
Summer seasonal: Amsterdam (begins 21 April 2015), Berlin–Tegel, Bordeaux, Brussels, Copenhagen (begins 26 June 2015), Deauville (begins 13 April 2015), Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva (begins 12 June 2015), Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen (begins 22 June 2015), Larnaca, London–Gatwick (begins 21 June 2015), Lyon, Marseille, Metz/Nancy (begins 13 April 2015), Milan–Malpensa (begins 25 June 2015), Moscow–Domodedovo, Munich, Nantes (begins 16 April 2015), Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Prague (begins 9 June 2015), Rhodes, Rome–Fiumicino (begins 13 June 2015), Saint Petersburg, Stockholm–Arlanda (begins 26 June 2015), Stuttgart, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Toulouse (begins 13 April 2015), Vienna, Zürich [7]
Aeroflot Summer seasonal: Moscow–Sheremetyevo
operated by Rossiya
Summer seasonal: Saint Petersburg
Air Berlin Summer seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Berlin–Tegel, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Nuremberg, Zürich
Air Méditerranée Summer seasonal: Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Toulouse
Alitalia Summer seasonal: Milan–Linate, Rome–Fiumicino [8]
Arkefly Summer seasonal: Amsterdam
Austrian Airlines Summer seasonal: Vienna
operated by Blue Panorama Airlines
Summer seasonal: Catania, Rome–Fiumicino
British Airways Summer seasonal: London–Gatwick (begins 26 April 2015)[9]
Condor Summer seasonal: Berlin–Schönefeld, Dresden (begins 4 May 2015), Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig/Halle, Manchester (begins 1 May 2015), Munich, Paderborn/Lippstadt, Stuttgart
Corendon Dutch Airlines Summer seasonal: Amsterdam, Brussels
easyJet Summer seasonal: Berlin–Schönefeld, Bristol, Edinburgh, Hamburg (begins 27 June 2015),[10] London–Gatwick, London–Luton, Manchester, Milan–Malpensa, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Rome–Fiumicino
easyJet Switzerland Summer seasonal: Geneva
Edelweiss Air Summer seasonal: Zürich
Ellinair Summer seasonal: Moscow–Domodedovo (begins 28 April 2015), Saint Petersburg (begins 24 April 2015),[11] Yekaterinburg (begins 29 May 2015) [12]
Finnair Summer seasonal: Helsinki (Begins 17 April 2015)
Germania[13] Summer seasonal: Erfurt (begins 7 May 2015), Kassel (begins 4 May 2015),[14] Münster/Osnabrück (begins 2 May 2015),[14] London-Gatwick (begins 26 May 2015)
Germanwings Summer seasonal: Berlin–Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hannover, Stuttgart
HolidayJet Airways
operated by Germania
Seasonal: Zürich (begins 3 May 2015)
Jetairfly[15] Summer seasonal: Brussels, Charleroi, Liège, Ostend/Bruges
Jet2.com Summer seasonal: East Midlands, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Lufthansa Summer seasonal: Munich (begins 23 May 2015)[16]
Luxair Summer seasonal: Luxembourg
Meridiana Summer seasonal: Bologna, Milan–Malpensa, Verona
Minoan Air Summer seasonal: Kos, Mytilene, Rhodes
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
Sky Express Athens, Ikaria, Kos, Kythira, Mytilene, Rhodes, Sitia[17]
Summer seasonal: Mykonos, Santorini, Volos
SunExpress Deutschland Summer seasonal: Düsseldorf, Hannover (begins 3 May 2015),[18] Leipzig/Halle (begins 5 May 2015),[18] Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart
operated by Travel Service Airlines
Summer seasonal: Budapest (begins 27 June 2015), Brno, Debrecen (begins 27 June 2015),[19] Ostrava, Prague
operated by Travel Service Slovakia[20][21]
Summer seasonal: Bratislava
Swiss International Air Lines Summer seasonal: Geneva
Thomas Cook Airlines Summer seasonal: Belfast–International, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, London–Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Thomson Airways Summer seasonal: Birmingham, Cardiff, Dublin, East Midlands, Glasgow, London–Gatwick, London–Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Transaero Airlines Summer seasonal: Moscow–Domodedovo, Moscow–Vnukovo, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg
Transavia.com Summer seasonal: Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Groningen, Maastricht/Aachen, Rotterdam
Transavia.com France Summer seasonal: Lyon, Nantes, Paris–Orly
TUIfly Summer seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Karlsruhe/Baden Baden (begins 23 May 2015),[22] Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Nuremberg, Saarbrücken (begins 22 May 2015), Vienna (begins 2 May 2015)
Ural Airlines Summer seasonal: Yekaterinburg
Volotea Summer seasonal: Bari, Naples (begins 30 June 2015),[23] Venice
Vueling Summer seasonal: Barcelona, Catania (begins 18 June 2015),[24] Rome–Fiumicino
Wizz Air Summer seasonal: Bucharest (begins 20 June 2015),[25] Budapest
Yakutia Airlines Summer seasonal: Krasnodar

Summer seasonal charter flights[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Adria Airways Ljubljana
Aegean Airlines Basel/Mulhouse, Belfast–International, Belgrade, Birmingham,[26] Bologna, Bucharest, Budapest, Bratislava, Cluj-Napoca, Exeter, Gothenburg–Landvetter, Graz, Iași (begins 1 June 2015), Izmir, Kazan, Košice, Rostov-on-Don, Timișoara, Yerevan
airBaltic Riga
Air Moldova Chişinău
Air Bucharest Bucharest
Arkia Israel Airlines Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion
Austrian Airlines
operated by Tyrolean Airways
Graz, Innsbruck
operated by Air Serbia
Blue Air Bacău
BlueBird Airways Moscow–Vnukovo, Saint Petersburg, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion
Blue Panorama Airlines Bologna, Milan–Malpensa
Bulgaria Air Sofia
Ellinair Chişinău (begins 3 June 2015), Kazan (begins 30 May 2015), Kiev–Boryspil (begins 31 May 2015), Nizhny Novgorod (begins 2 June 2015), Rostov-on-Don (begins 26 May 2015), Samara (begins 30 May 2015)[12]
Enter Air Bydgoszcz, Katowice, Łódź, Poznań, Warsaw–Chopin
Europe Airpost Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Germania Erfurt, Manchester
Israir Airlines Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion
Jet Time Copenhagen
Jetairfly Liège, Lille, Ostend/Bruges
Neos Milan–Malpensa, Verona
NordStar Moscow–Domodedovo, Norilsk [27]
Nordwind Airlines Barnaul, Belgorod, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk
Novair Stockholm–Arlanda
Orenair Moscow–Domodedovo, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg
Small Planet Airlines Budapest, Katowice, London–Gatwick, Milan–Malpensa, Vilnius, Warsaw–Chopin
SmartLynx Airlines Riga
Sun D'Or International Airlines
operated by El Al
Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion
TAROM Bucharest
Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium Brussels, Liège
Travel Service Prague
Travel Service Hungary Budapest
Travel Service Polska Poznań, Warsaw–Chopin
TUIfly Nordic Helsinki
Ukraine International Airlines Kiev–Boryspil
Wind Rose Aviation Kharkiv, Kiev–Boryspil, Lviv, Odessa

Traffic figures[edit]

Annual passenger throughput - 11 year history[3]

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 43,544 5,792,429 Increase +14.7
2014 43,637 6,019,296 Increase +5.2

Other facilities[edit]

The airline Bluebird Airways has its head office at the airport.[28]


  • It is often requested by airlines that passengers do not take any photographs or video of the runway. This is because of a Hellenic Air Force base (126 CG) which operates at the airport.

Airport Closure[edit]

There are plans to replace the current airport with a new airport at Kastelli. The new airport will be adjacent to an already existing airbaset and will require new roads, water and sanitation projects, including the transfer of the settlements located within the proposed runway (Archangelos, Roussochoria). The construction of a 17 km road will connect the airport with the National Road along the north coast of Crete, in the neighbourhood of Chersonissos. When finished, the distance from the city of Iraklio to the new airport will be approximately 40 kilometers. Complaints have been filed for lack of a new road linking the new airport to the south coast of Crete.

The new airport will be constructed over an area of 600 hectares (1482 acres), adjacent to the current military airport in Kastelli. It will have a runway of 3800 meters to accommodate larger aircraft than can presently be operated into Heraklion International Airport, "Nikos Kazantzakis". An additional area of 22 hectares (54 acres) is reserved for commercial activity south-west of the new airport. This is a very large project with a budget of €1.2 billion for construction costs alone, and together with purchase costs including loans and other expenses, will reach €1.5 billion.

The location of the new airport can be seen here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?oe=UTF8&t=h&source=embed&ie=UTF8&msa=0&mid=zJZhfY1z_GvU.kuOQm8LO05Ws


  1. ^ http://www.airliners.gr/el/airport/LGIR.html
  2. ^ "Nikos Kazantzakis". WorldAeroData. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Statistical data of Iraklion airport "N. Kazantzakis" for the period 1994-2012" (XLS). Hellenic Civilian Aviation Authority. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Heraklion Airport History". www.heraklion-airport.info. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Article from oriste.com: "New airport Iraklio Crete in Kastelli Pediados"
  6. ^ Article from oriste.com: "Construction of Iraklio airport in Kastelli Pediados"
  7. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2014/09/15/a3-s15update1/
  8. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2014/03/25/az-jun14/
  9. ^ http://www.thebasource.com/british-airways-announce-summer-london-gatwick-heraklion-route/
  10. ^ "easyJet adds 20 new routes for summer 2015". easyJet. 10 December 2014. 
  11. ^ http://www.mouzenidis.gr/avia-table/?CurPage=1&DepartureCityId=195&ArrivalCityId=295&DaysFlow=0&DateFrom=24-04-2015
  12. ^ a b http://el.ellinair.com
  13. ^ "Germania Flight Schedule / 30.12.2014 - 01.11.2015" (PDF). Germania. 
  14. ^ a b "Germania Planned New S15 Routes as of 19NOV14". Airline Route. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  15. ^ "Jetairfly Flight Plan". Jetairfly. 
  16. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2014/11/11/lh-mucher-may15/
  17. ^ http://www.skyexpress.gr
  18. ^ a b http://airlineroute.net/2014/10/08/xg-s15update1/
  19. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2015/03/23/qs-hungary-s15/
  20. ^ "SmartWings Contact". smartwings.com. 
  21. ^ "SmartWings Flight schedule". smartwings.com. 
  22. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2014/10/09/x3-s15update1/
  23. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2014/10/07/v7-s15update1/
  24. ^ http://www.vueling.com/en
  26. ^ http://bhxflightguide.blogspot.gr/2014/05/news-aegean.html
  27. ^ VQ-BDO, Boeing 737-800, NordStar Airlines - Large size. airpics.net. Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
  28. ^ "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