El Hierro Airport

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El Hierro Airport
Aeropuerto de El Hierro
Aeropuerto de los Cangrejos
Flughafen el hierro.jpg
Airport type Public
Operator Aena
Location El Hierro
Elevation AMSL 32 m / 103 ft
Coordinates 27°48′53″N 017°53′13″W / 27.81472°N 17.88694°W / 27.81472; -17.88694
Website Airport of El Hierro
VDE is located in Canary Islands
Location of airport in Canary Islands
Direction Length Surface
m ft
16/34 1,250 4,101 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 156,439
Source:Spanish AIP at EUROCONTROL, Aena [1] [1]

El Hierro Airport (IATA: VDE, ICAO: GCHI) is an airport located 9 km (5.6 mi) northeast[1] of Valverde. It is the only existing airport on the Island of El Hierro, Spain. It was inaugurated in December 1972 and, officially, it is called Aeropuerto de los Cangrejos.

However, in spite of its size and its limited timetable, it was the airport which had the greatest increase in number of passengers and merchandise in the Canary Islands in 2007.

The air traffic is national, and the flights are normally from/to Tenerife North and Gran Canaria. In 2011, the airport carried 170,225 passengers, with 4,674 operations and 135 tons of merchandise.[2]


The first aeronautical event in the island was on December 12, 1955, and it was the first rescue operation by the SAR in the Canary Islands too. It consisted of an evacuation of an ill person who had to be transported to Tenerife in a helicopter.[3]

There was a real necessity of having an airport in the island, so in 1962 some studies to locate the best place for the future airport were started, but the orography of the island is very complex, and there were not too many places available for that aim.

Finally, the engineers decided to place the airport in a place called "Llano de los Cangrejos" located in the northeast of the Island, near its capital, Valverde.

Works to build the new installations began in 1967, building a runway (16-34), a small passenger terminal and an aircraft platform. Once the works were finished, on November 11, 1972, the airport was inaugurated and dedicated to national air traffic of passengers and merchandise. It was classified as a 2-C category (OACI) or airport of third category.

The airplane which made the first landing in the island was a Do-27 of the Spanish Air Force, but the official inauguration was made by a DC-3 which carried the minister Julio Salvador y Días-Benjumena.

The first regular connection was open by Iberia, starting with the operations on December 19, 1972,[4] with a Fokker F-27 commanded by Vicente Ramos Hernández, which made the route from Tenerife North - El Hierro - Tenerife North.

During 1989 and 1990, a new control tower was made on the west side of the runway, demolishing the old one, at the same time, a new passengers terminal was built. In July, 1992, instead of Iberia, BinterCanarias started to operate the route from Tenerife North to El Hierro with an ATR-72. For that reason, the runway had to be extended until 1205 meters (3953 ft). This extension allowed an increase in the number of passengers and operations.


The control tower is located in the western part of the island, opposite to the terminal - where an air traffic controller and the maintenance technicians work. In 2008, works to renovate the control tower began, with the aim of modernizing the installations. At present, it has the SACTA 3.5 system, which allows radar visualization of the radar data.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Binter Canarias Gran Canaria, Tenerife-North
CanaryFly Tenerife-North


  1. ^ a b EAD Basic
  2. ^ "AENA". Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "AENA". AENA. 
  4. ^ "El mundo de la aviacion". 

External links[edit]