Santiago de Compostela Airport

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Santiago de Compostela Airport
Aeroporto de Santiago de Compostela
WMO: 8041
Airport type Public/Military
Operator Aena
Serves Santiago de Compostela
Location Lavacolla
Elevation AMSL 1,213 ft / 370 m
Coordinates 42°53′47″N 08°24′55″W / 42.89639°N 8.41528°W / 42.89639; -8.41528
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 10,499 3,200 Asphalt
Statistics (2012)
Passengers 2,194,611
Passenger change 11-12 Decrease10.9%
Aircraft Movements 19,511
Movements change 11-12 Decrease12.6%

Santiago de Compostela Airport (Galician: Aeroporto de Santiago de Compostela, Spanish: Aeropuerto de Santiago de Compostela) (IATA: SCQICAO: LEST) is one of the three international airports in Galicia, Spain. It is located in Lavacolla, a village 16 km away from Santiago de Compostela. In 2011, 2.464.431 passengers passed through it.

The Christian pilgrimage route of the Way of St. James (El Camino de Santiago) passes by the airport.


The airport was set up by a group of aviation enthusiasts in October 1932 and two months directors were chosen to select where the airport was going to be built. In 1935 construction work started at the airport where two years later on 27 September 1937 the first scheduled flight from Santiago de Compostela took place.

After the Spanish Civil war, political prisoners (who were held in the concentration camp of Lavacolla) were forced to work in the contruction of the airport.[1]

Domestic and International services began from the airport on 30 June 1947.

In 1948, work began on asphalting the main runway. this also included the introduction of a parking apron and stands which were completed sometime between 1953 and 1954. It was expanded again in 1964.

In 1969 A new terminal was built at the airport. It has had several expansions taking place since it opened. It closed in 2011 following a brand new terminal being built at the airport.

In 1981, a cargo terminal was built, giving the airport capacity to handle cargo flights.[2]

On 13 October 2011 a new passenger terminal opened at the airport, replacing the old 1969 terminal.


The airport currently has one terminal. The old terminal which had been in operation since 1969 closed on the night on 13 October 2011.

Old Terminal[edit]

The Old terminal at Santiago de Compostela airport opened in 1969 and had lots of expansions during its lifetime. The terminal closed on the night of 13 October 2011 where operations transferred to the new terminal. It is currently unknown of the fate of the old terminal.

New Terminal[edit]

The New terminal at Santiago de Compostela Airport officially opened on 13 October 2011 and passenger operations transferred there the following day. It is adjacent to the old terminal and has a size of 74,000 sq m. It has 22 check-in desks, 3 security checkpoints, 13 gates of which 5 have airbridges and 4 baggage carousels. The baggage hall is split into two zones, one for EU flights and one for Non-EU. It can handle as much as 4 million passengers per year.[3]

The terminal is due to be expanded in the near future. This includes adding another 5 airbridges to 5 of the current gates as well as 3 more baggage carousels and an expanded shopping area.[4]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Vueling Airbus A320-200 in Santiago de Compostela
Iberia Express Airbus A320-200 in Santiago de Compostela
Airlines Destinations
Aer Lingus Seasonal: Dublin
Air Europa Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Caracas, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca
easyJet London-Gatwick
easyJet Switzerland Basel/Mulhouse, Geneva
operated by Air Nostrum
Bilbao, Madrid
Seasonal: Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-North
Iberia Express Madrid
Ryanair Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Hahn, Lanzarote, London-Stansted, Madrid, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Seville, Tenerife-South, Valencia
Seasonal: Bergamo
SATA International Seasonal Charter: Madeira
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk
Vueling Barcelona
Seasonal: Amsterdam, Brussels, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca (begins 21 December 2014), Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Rome-Fiumicino, Zürich


Passenger numbers have increased significantly at the airport, from 1.3 million in 2000 to 2.4 in 2011. This decreased slightly in 2013 to 2.2 million. Cargo has decreased significantly over the last ten years.[5]

Santiago de Compostela Airport Passenger Totals 2000-2012 (millions)
Updated: 16 October 2013.[5]
Passengers Aircraft movements Cargo (tonnes)
2000 1,332,893 19,660 6,773
2001 1,281,334 19,084 6,228
2002 1,240,730 17.362 5,716
2003 1,381,826 18,454 5,318
2004 1,580,675 21,593 4,938
2005 1,843,118 25,693 3,805
2006 1,994,519 24,719 2,587
2007 2,050,172 24,643 2,749
2008 1,917,466 21,945 2,418
2009 1,944,068 20,166 1,988
2010 2,172,869 21,252 1,964
2011 2,464,330 22,322 1,787
2012 2,194,611 19,511 1,815
2013 2,073,055 18,688 1,929
Source: Aena Statistics[5]


Subsidies granted by the Galician autonomous government to certain airlines operating at Santiago airport have been criticized by some social and political agents in Galicia, claiming that it implies unfair competition that damages the existing services at Vigo Airport and A Coruña Airport, which are located in Galicia's most populated areas.

Additionally, criticism has faced the high cost of constructing a new terminal building, 230 million euros, while the old terminal currently sits shuttered and unused.

Accidents and Incidents[edit]

  • On 3 March 1978, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63 operated by Iberia from Madrid-Barajas Airport with 211 passengers and 11 crew members, registration EC-BMX. The aircraft touched down far down the runway after a high approach, aquaplaned off the runway, dropped into a hollow 20m deep and caught fire. The crash was settled with 70 injured people, 10 of them seriously injured, and no fatalities.[6]
  • On 7 June 2001, a Beechcraft B300C Super King Air 350, registration F-GOAE, departed from Le Mans-Arnage Airport (LME), France, to Santiago De Compostela Airport (SCQ), Spain, on a cargo flight according to instrument flight rules. Near the destination airport, the meteorological conditions were reported to be good, and the crew requested a visual approach to runway 17, even though the active runway was 35. Once cleared to land, the aircraft encountered a fog patch and from this moment it began a high ate descent (2000 to 3000 ft/min). A minute after entering an unexpected and unforeseen fog patch, the aircraft struck some trees in level flight and with an airspeed of 148 kt. The wings and engines detached from the fuselage, and they dragged along a scrubland area until they came to a stop. The crew suffered minor injuries and the aircraft was completely destroyed.[7]
  • On 2 August 2012, an Airnor Cessena 500 Citation I, registration EC-IBA crashed whilst on approach to the airport with the loss of both crew members.[8]


External links[edit]