Gran Canaria Airport

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Gran Canaria Airport

Aeropuerto de Gran Canaria
Aena Gran Canaria.svg
Airport typePublic
ServesGran Canaria
LocationTelde and Ingenio, Spain
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL24 m / 78 ft
Coordinates27°55′55″N 015°23′12″W / 27.93194°N 15.38667°W / 27.93194; -15.38667Coordinates: 27°55′55″N 015°23′12″W / 27.93194°N 15.38667°W / 27.93194; -15.38667
WebsiteGran Canaria Airport
LPA is located in Canary Islands
Location within the Canary Islands
Direction Length Surface
m ft
03L/21R 3,100 10,171 Asphalt concrete
03R/21L 3,100 10,171 Solibakke Asphalt concrete
Statistics (2021)
Passenger change 20-21Increase34.4%
Aircraft movements83,983
Movements change 20-21Increase24.8%
Cargo (tonnes)15,853
Cargo change 20-21Increase13.8%
Sources: Passenger Traffic, AENA[1]
Spanish AIP, AENA[2]

Gran Canaria Airport (IATA: LPA, ICAO: GCLP), sometimes also known as Gando Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto de Gran Canaria), is a passenger and freight airport on the island of Gran Canaria. It is an important airport within the Spanish air-transport network (owned and managed by a public enterprise, AENA), as it holds the sixth position in terms of passengers, and fifth in terms of operations and cargo transported. It also ranks first of the Canary Islands in all three categories, although the island of Tenerife has higher passenger numbers overall if statistics from the two airports located on the island are combined.[3][4][5]

The airport is located in the eastern part of Gran Canaria on the Bay of Gando (Bahía de Gando), 19 km (12 mi) to the south[6] of Las Palmas, and 25 km (16 mi) from the popular tourist areas in the south. In 2014 it handled over 10.3 million passengers, ranking 1st in the Canary Islands and 5th in Spain by passenger traffic.[7] Gran Canaria Airport is an important hub for passengers travelling to West Africa (Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Cape Verde, among others), and to the Atlantic Isles of Madeira and the Azores. It serves as base for Binter Canarias, Canaryfly, Ryanair, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Vueling. Other airlines use it as a base to operate charter flights to Cape Verde and Gambia (TUI fly Deutschland and TUI fly Nordic), but only in the winter.


In 1919, Frenchman Pierre George Latécoère was granted clearance from the French & Spanish governments to establish an airline route between Toulouse and Casablanca. This also included stopovers in Málaga, Alicante and Barcelona. The airport opened on 7 April 1930, after King Alfonso XIII signed a royal order announcing that the military air force installations on the Bay of Gando would become a civilian airfield. In its existence, the airport has become the largest gateway into the Canary Islands, as well as the largest in terms of passenger and cargo operations. Although the island of Tenerife has higher passenger numbers overall between the two airports located on the island.[3][4][5]

In 1946, the old passenger terminal opened, which took two years to build.[8] In 1948 a runway was built, which was completed and fully tarmacked in 1957.

In 1963, improvements to the airport were made. This included new parking spaces, enlargement of the terminal and the provision of a visual approach slope indicator system. In 1964, a transmission station was built. In 1966 a new control tower was completed, replacing the old control tower that was constructed in 1946.[citation needed] In 1970, work began on the current passenger terminal which opened in March 1973. During this time, a second runway was being built and this was completed in 1980.[citation needed]

On 18 February 1988, Binter Canarias announced that the airline's main base was to be established at Gran Canaria. The base opened on 26 March 1989. In October 1991, the terminal was enlarged with improved facilities so it could handle more passengers.

In December 2010, low-cost carrier Ryanair announced the opening of 3 new bases on the Canary Islands.[citation needed] In addition to Gran Canaria these include Lanzarote and Tenerife South. Ryanair presently operates 30 routes from Gran Canaria. The airport was an official alternative (emergency) landing site for the NASA Space Shuttle, before the ending of the Space Shuttle programme in July 2011.

As of 2011, there was a programme to expand the airport, extending the terminal and creating a new runway.[9] In 2015 this major renovation of Gran Canaria airport was completed. Among the improvements was increasing the number of baggage belts, 16 to 24, check-in counters from 96 to 132 and gates, up to 40. The new terminal area is now fully active, doubling the previous area. There is also a plan for the building of a new runway for the airport.


The airport has one terminal which opened in March 1973. It was extended in October 1991 to increase passenger traffic. Despite being a building of historical interest, in 2013 the original passenger terminal building, opened in 1946, was demolished to make way for a further extension which opened in 2014. Although dramatically expanded over the years the airport remains a single terminal airport.

There are four check-in areas. Check-in Area 1 (desks 101 to 118) is in the newest part of the airport (which opened on 16 July 2014) and serves almost exclusively flights operated by CanaryFly, Air Europa and Binter Canarias (mainly inter-island flights between the Canary Islands or to Morocco). At times of very high demand, check-in Area 1 may provide overflow capacity for Areas 2, 3 and 4. Check-in Area 2 (desks 201 to 234) is located in the first part of the "new" airport which opened in 1973. This area was completely refurbished in 2014 and is normally used for flights handled by Iberia plus some of those handled by Ground Force (Globalia Handling). Check-in Area 3 (desks 301 to 352) is in the second part of the "new" airport which originally opened in 1991 and is used for flights handled by Ground Force. Airline Norwegian Air Shuttle have dedicated check-in desks and self-check-in podiums located at the southern end of Area 3. Check-in Area 4 (desks 401 to 406) is located downstairs between the police station and the main car rental offices (Hertz, Europcar, CICAR, TopCar, Gold Car and Avis Rent a Car System) and is used exclusively by Ryanair.

There are two security filters where passengers pass from the general public areas into the departures area. At these security filters passengers and their hand luggage is scanned to ensure no prohibited items pass. The main security filter is located between Check-in Areas 2 and 3. There is a second filter located in Check-in Area 1 which is intended to serve exclusively passengers of inter-island flights.

The terminal departures area is split into four zones (A, B, C, and D). Zone A is for flights to the other Canary Islands, Zones B and C are for European Union (including Spain), Switzerland, Iceland, and Scandinavian flights and Zone D is for other international flights. The gates in Zone A are at ground floor level at the northern end of the terminal. Other gates are on the first floor (the same level as the security filters into departures) those in Zone D featuring additional security to allow for the screening of international passengers.

There are two arrivals areas numbered "1" and "2" both located downstairs at ground level. Area 1 serves all arrivals of flights originating within Spain and is located at the northern end of the airport. Some of the car rental companies have additional counters in this area as it is a considerable walk to the main car rental area. Area 2 serves all international arrivals and is located at the southern end of the airport. As the majority of arrivals served by area 2 are for tourist flights, many bringing passengers travelling on package holidays organized by tour operators, there is a large coach park (Parking A) located immediately in front of this area. Overflow coach parking (which is required only in the Winter months) is provided at the departures level (Parking B) and is accessed from arrivals area 2 via a purpose-built a pedestrian tunnel with stairs and travelators.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights at Gran Canaria Airport:

Aer Lingus Dublin
airBaltic Seasonal: Riga (begins 1 November 2022)[10]
Air Europa Madrid
Air France Seasonal: Paris–Charles de Gaulle
AlbaStar Seasonal charter: Bergamo
Atlantic Airways Seasonal: Vágar[11]
Austrian Airlines Vienna
Azores Airlines Funchal, Ponta Delgada
Binter Canarias A Coruña, Agadir, Asturias, Banjul, Casablanca, Dakar–Diass, Dakhla, El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Guelmim,[12] Laayoune, Lanzarote, La Palma, Murcia, Nouakchott, Palma de Mallorca, Pamplona, Sal, San Sebastián, Santander, Tenerife–North, Tenerife–South, Vigo, Vitoria, Zaragoza
Seasonal: Fès,[13] Florence,[13] Jerez de la Frontera,[13] Lille, Menorca, Ponta Delgada,[13] Reus, Toulouse, Turin, Valladolid,[13] Venice
British Airways London–Gatwick
Brussels Airlines Brussels
CanaryFly Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Palma, Tenerife–North[14]
Chair Airlines Seasonal: Zürich (resumes 30 October 2022)[15]
Condor Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Stuttgart
Corendon Airlines[16] Basel/Mulhouse, Brussels, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hannover, Münster/Osnabrück, Nuremberg
Seasonal: Copenhagen,[17] Erfurt, Friedrichshafen, Graz, Linz, Saarbrücken, Stuttgart (begins 1 November 2022)[16]
Corendon Dutch Airlines Amsterdam
Seasonal: Maastricht/Aachen[18]
DAT Seasonal charter: Aalborg, Aarhus, Billund, Copenhagen
easyJet Bristol, Lisbon (begins 31 October 2022),[19] London–Gatwick, London–Luton, Manchester
Seasonal: Amsterdam,[20] Belfast–International,[21] Geneva, Glasgow
Edelweiss Air Zürich
Enter Air Seasonal charter: Katowice,[22] Poznań,[22] Warsaw–Chopin, Wrocław[22]
Eurowings Seasonal: Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hannover, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Vienna
Eurowings Discover[23] Frankfurt, Munich
Finnair Helsinki
Flyr Oslo
Iberia Madrid
Iberia Express Madrid
Iberia Regional Seasonal: Alicante, León,[24] Santiago de Compostela, Valencia, Vigo
Iberojet Seasonal charter: Stavanger,[25] Trondheim[25] Belfast–International, Birmingham,[26] Bristol,[27] East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, London–Stansted,[28] Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Lufthansa Seasonal: Munich[29]
Luxair Luxembourg
Mauritania Airlines Nouadhibou, Nouakchott
Neos Milan–Malpensa, Verona
Norwegian Air Shuttle[30] Copenhagen, Oslo
Seasonal: Bergen, Stockholm–Arlanda
Novair Seasonal charter: Gothenburg, Oslo, Stockholm–Arlanda
PLAY Seasonal: Reykjavík–Keflavík
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca, Laayoune
Ryanair Bergamo, Berlin, Birmingham, Bournemouth,[31] Bristol, Charleroi, Cork, Dublin, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow-Prestwick, London–Luton, London–Stansted, Madrid, Málaga, Manchester, Marrakesh, Milan–Malpensa, Newcastle upon Tyne, Palma de Mallorca, Rome–Fiumicino, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Valencia
Seasonal: Barcelona, Bologna, Budapest, Cologne/Bonn, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden (begins 30 October 2022),[32] Kraków, Memmingen, Pisa, Porto, Shannon, Treviso,[33] Vienna
Scandinavian Airlines Oslo
Seasonal: Copenhagen, Stockholm–Arlanda
Seasonal charter: Ålesund, Bergen, Billund, Gothenburg, Haugesund, Kalmar, Kristiansand,[34] Molde,[34] Stavanger, Trondheim
Smartwings Prague
Sunclass Airlines[35][36][37][38] Charter: Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm–Arlanda
Seasonal charter: Aalborg, Bergen, Billund, Bodø, Gothenburg, Harstad/Narvik, Helsinki, Jönköping, Karlstad, Kuopio, Luleå, Malmö, Örebro, Stavanger, Sandefjord, Tromsø, Trondheim, Turku, Umeå, Vaasa
Sundair Seasonal: Berlin, Bremen, Dresden, Kassel[39]
TAP Air Portugal Lisbon
Transavia Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Lyon (begins 30 October 2022),[40] Paris–Orly,[41] Rotterdam/The Hague
TUI Airways Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster/Sheffield (ends 29 October 2022),[42] Dublin,[43] Glasgow, London–Gatwick, London–Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Seasonal: Bournemouth, Exeter
TUI fly Belgium Brussels, Liège, Ostend/Bruges
TUI fly Deutschland Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart
TUI fly Netherlands Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Groningen
TUI fly Nordic[44][34][45] Charter: Gothenburg, Stockholm–Arlanda
Seasonal charter: Luleå, Malmö, Norrköping,[46] Örebro, Umeå, Växjö
Volotea Asturias, Lyon, Nantes
Seasonal: Lille (begins 12 November 2022),[47] Marseille (begins 12 November 2022),[48] Strasbourg (begins 13 November 2022),[49] Toulouse (begins 12 November 2022)[50]
Vueling Alicante, Asturias, Barcelona, Bilbao, Billund, Copenhagen,[51] Granada, Málaga, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Valencia, Zaragoza[52]
Seasonal: Amsterdam, London–Gatwick (begins 7 December 2022),[53] Rome–Fiumicino[54]
Widerøe Seasonal charter: Sandefjord[55]
Wizz Air Bucharest, London–Luton, Rome–Fiumicino
Seasonal: Milan–Malpensa


Traffic figures[edit]

Two F-18s of the Spanish Air Force taking off from Gando Air Base, which shares space with the airport

Annual passenger traffic at LPA airport. See Wikidata query.
An Airbus A340-600 of Iberia taxiing at the airport
Passengers Aircraft movements Cargo (tonnes)
2000 9,376,640 98,063 43,706
2001 9,332,132 93,291 40,860
2002 9,009,756 93,803 39,638
2003 9,181,229 99,712 40,050
2004 9,467,494 104,659 40,934
2005 9,827,157 110,748 40,389
2006 10,286,726 114,949 38,360
2007 10,354,903 114,355 37,491
2008 10,212,123 116,252 33,695
2009 9,155,665 101,557 25,994
2010 9,486,035 103,087 24,528
2011 10,538,829 111,271 23,679
2012 9,892,067 100,393 20,601
2013 9,770,253 95,483 18,781
2014 10,315,732 102,211 19,821
2015 10,627,182 100,417 18,800
2016 12,093,645 111,996 18,588
2017 13,092,117 118,554 18,045
2018 13,573,304 131,027 19,174
2019 13,261,228 126,451 19,739
2020 5,134,252 67,280 13,926
2021 6,899,523 83,983 15,853
Source: Aena Statistics[1]

Route statistics[edit]

Busiest domestic routes at Gran Canaria Airport (2021)[1]
Rank City Passengers
1 Community of Madrid Madrid 936,631
2 Canary Islands Tenerife (North) 594,683
3 Canary Islands Lanzarote 583,387
4 Canary Islands Fuerteventura 473,897
5 Catalonia Barcelona 315,078
6 Andalusia Seville 162,570
7 Canary Islands La Palma 132,373
8 Andalusia Málaga 124,485
9 Canary Islands Tenerife (South) 118,920
10 Galicia (Spain) Santiago de Compostela 89,674
Busiest international routes at Gran Canaria Airport (2021)[1]
Rank City Passengers
1 Netherlands Amsterdam, the Netherlands 212,676
2 Germany Düsseldorf, Germany 204,752
3 Germany Frankfurt, Germany 181,493
4 Sweden Stockholm, Sweden 108,998
5 Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark 102,855
6 Germany Munich, Germany 90,268
7 Belgium Brussels, Belgium 85,407
8 Norway Oslo, Norway 84,060
9 United Kingdom Manchester, United Kingdom 83,099
10 Germany Berlin, Germany 80,004

Ground transportation[edit]

The airport can be reached by several island roads from all points in the island. There are special bus service from most towns in Gran Canaria, but access by taxi is usual.

Gran Canaria's main motorway GC1 runs past the airport providing transport links to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the North and to the tourist resorts in the South.

Plans have existed for several years to construct a rail link connecting the airport to Las Palmas and Maspalomas. As of 2018, the Tren de Gran Canaria scheme was estimated to be underfunded by €1,500 million.[56]

Military use[edit]

There is an airbase of the Spanish Air Force to the east of the runways. Beyond several hangars opposite to the passenger terminal, the Gando Air Base (Base Aérea de Gando) contains ten shelters situated on the southern end of the eastern runway. They harbor the Ala 46 with F/A-18 Hornets, CASA 212 and the Eurocopter AS 532 of SAR.[57] Ala 46 or 46 Wing, composed of 462 and 802 fighter squadron, defends the Spanish airspace around the Canary Islands. It is one of the biggest and most important air bases of the Spanish Air Force and is unique for the wide variety of aircraft which it operates.

Military activity was most intense during the mid-1970s, at the time of the crisis of decolonisation of Western Sahara and its occupation by Morocco. Military crises in Western Africa, like the 2013 Mali intervention by France, made Gando Air Base the main air platform for operations in Western Africa area by NATO. In 2006 Spain proposed Gando Air Base as headquarters for the newly created US Africa Command (AFRICOM), but the AFRICOM HQ was ultimately based in Stuttgart (Germany).

The Canary Islands Air Command (Mando Aéreo de CanariasMACAN) is based in the city of Las Palmas. Canary Islands Air Command is the only territorial general Air Command Air Force in Spain; its mission is the maintenance, preparation and command of air units located in the Canary archipelago.[58][59] Any Spanish military airplane that lands in the Canary Islands is immediately put at the disposal of the Canary Islands Air Command, who can retain it and use it as long as necessary for missions within the islands. This happens sometimes with heavy military transport, antisubmarine warfare and early warning airplanes; the islands do not have these on a permanent basis. Once the plane is released by the Canary Islands Air Command, it can leave the Canary Islands and reverts to the Air Force Commands of mainland Spain.

The deployment base of Gando Air Base is the Lanzarote Military Airfield (Aeródromo Militar de Lanzarote). Lanzarote Military Airfield has permanently its own Air Force troops platoons and the radar for the air defence (the EVA 22, which covers the Eastern Canary Islands and the maritime area up to the Sahara), but it has no permanently based military planes, using the ones from Gando.

Other facilities[edit]

Canaryfly has its head office in Hangar L.[60] Binter Canarias also has its head office on the airport grounds.[61]

MPAIAC bombing and Tenerife disaster[edit]

At 1:15 PM on 27 March 1977, a bomb planted by the Movement for the Independence and Autonomy of the Canaries Archipelago (MPAIAC) exploded in a florist's shop on the terminal concourse. Fifteen minutes of warning was given to the airport authorities,[62] who started to evacuate the building; the inside of the terminal was damaged and eight people were injured, one seriously.[63] A later telephone call claimed responsibility for the explosion and hinted that a second bomb had been planted somewhere in the terminal building; the airport was closed and searched, necessitating the diversion of several incoming flights, including a number of large aircraft on long international flights, to Los Rodeos airport (later named Tenerife North Airport) on the nearby island of Tenerife. The resulting runway congestion on the small regional airport was a factor in the subsequent disaster at Los Rodeos, when just after 5:00 p.m. two Boeing 747s originally bound for Gran Canaria collided on the Los Rodeos runway, resulting in 583 deaths, the worst aviation accident in history.[citation needed]


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External links[edit]

Media related to Gran Canaria Airport at Wikimedia Commons