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)
Passengers 6,019,296
Passenger traffic change Increase 5.2%
Aircraft movements 43,878
Aircraft movements change Increase 0.8%
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. 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 the fall of 1946 traffic ressumed, 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

Airport closure[edit]

During the summer months the airport becomes 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 cost of this airport will be approximately €1 billion. When the new airport is up and running, the existing airport at Heraklion will cease operations. The new airport will be adjacent to an already existing airbase and will require new roads, water and sanitation projects, including the relocation of the settlements located within the proposed runway (Archangelos, Roussochoria). The construction of a new road will connect the airport with the motorway along the north coast of Crete, in the neighbourhood of Chersonissos. When finished, the distance from the city of Heraklion 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 (1,482 acres). It will have a runway of 3,800 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 southwest 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.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Scheduled Destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Aegean Airlines Athens
Seasonal: Amsterdam, Berlin–Tegel, Bordeaux, Brest (begins 11 April 2016),[4] Copenhagen, Deauville, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen, Larnaca, London–Gatwick, Lyon, Marseille, Metz/Nancy, Milan–Malpensa, Moscow–Domodedovo, Munich, Nantes, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Prague, Rome–Fiumicino, Saint Petersburg, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Toulouse, Vienna, Venice (begins 3 June 2016),[5] Zürich[6]
Aeroflot Seasonal: Moscow–Sheremetyevo
operated by Rossiya
Seasonal: Saint Petersburg
Air Berlin Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Berlin–Tegel, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Nuremberg, Zürich
Air Méditerranée Seasonal: Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Toulouse
Alitalia Seasonal: Milan–Linate, Rome–Fiumicino[7]
Astra Airlines Thessaloniki[8][9]
Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Vienna
operated by Blue Panorama Airlines
Seasonal: Bergamo,[10] Rome–Fiumicino
British Airways Seasonal: London–Gatwick[11]
Brussels Airlines Seasonal: Brussels (begins 2 April 2016)[12]
Condor Seasonal: Berlin–Schönefeld, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig/Halle, Manchester, Munich, Stuttgart
Corendon Dutch Airlines Seasonal: Amsterdam, Brussels
easyJet Seasonal: Berlin–Schönefeld, Bristol, Edinburgh, Hamburg,[13] London–Gatwick, London–Luton, Manchester, Milan–Malpensa, Paris–Charles de Gaulle
easyJet Switzerland Seasonal: Geneva
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich
Ellinair Thessaloniki
Seasonal: Berlin–Tegel (begins 8 May 2016),[14] Bucharest (begins 6 June 2016),[15] Düsseldorf (begins11 July 2016),[16] Frankfurt (begins 6 May 2016),[17] Hamburg (begins 7 May 2016),[18] Hannover (begins 22 June 2016)),[19] Katowice (begins 2 June 2016),[15] Kiev–Boryspil (begins 24 April 2016), Leipzig/Halle (begins 22 June 2016),[20] Moscow–Domodedovo (begins 24 April 2016), Munich (begins 8 May 2016),[21] Saint Petersburg (begins 30 April 2016),[22] Warsaw-Chopin (begins 2 June 2016)[15]
Eurowings Seasonal: Düsseldorf (begins 2 May 2016)[23]
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
Germania Seasonal: Bremen, Dresden (begins 6 May 2016), Erfurt, Kassel, Münster/Osnabrück, Rostock-Laage (begins 27 May 2016)
Germanwings Seasonal: Berlin–Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf (ends 26 March 2016), Hamburg, Hannover, Stuttgart
Germania Flug Seasonal: Zürich
Jetairfly Seasonal: Brussels, Charleroi, Liège, Ostend/Bruges
Jet2.com Seasonal: East Midlands, Edinburgh (begins 27 May 2016), Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Lufthansa Seasonal: Munich
Luxair Seasonal: Luxembourg
Meridiana Seasonal: Bologna, Milan–Malpensa, Verona
Mistral Air Seasonal: Naples
Monarch Airlines Seasonal: Birmingham, London–Gatwick, Manchester[24]
Niki Seasonal: Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Vienna
Norwegian Air Shuttle Seasonal: Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo–Gardermoen, Stockholm–Arlanda
Olympic Air
operated by Aegean Airlines
Seasonal: Rhodes (begins 27 March 2016)
Sky Express Athens, Kos, Rhodes
Seasonal: Chios, Karpathos, Mytilene, Volos
operated by Travel Service
Seasonal: Brno, Budapest, Debrecen,[25] Ostrava, Prague
operated by Travel Service (Slovakia)[26]
Seasonal: Bratislava
SunExpress Deutschland Seasonal: Düsseldorf, Hannover,[27] Leipzig/Halle,[27] Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart
Swiss International Air Lines Seasonal: Geneva
Thomas Cook Airlines Seasonal: Belfast–International, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, London–Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Thomson Airways Seasonal: Birmingham, Cardiff, Doncaster/Sheffield (begins 1 June 2016), East Midlands, Glasgow, London–Gatwick, London–Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Transavia Seasonal: Amsterdam, Eindhoven
Transavia France Seasonal: Lyon, Nantes, Paris–Orly
TUI Airlines Netherlands Seasonal: Amsterdam
TUIfly Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hannover, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Nuremberg, Saarbrücken, Vienna
Tus Airways Seasonal: Larnaca (begins 28 March 2016)[28]
Ural Airlines Seasonal: Yekaterinburg
Volotea Seasonal: Bari, Naples, Palermo (begins 28 June 2016),[29] Venice
Vueling Seasonal: Barcelona, Catania,[30] Rome–Fiumicino
Wizz Air Seasonal: Budapest
XL Airways France Seasonal: Lille

Charter Destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Adria Airways Ljubljana
Aegean Airlines Belfast–International, Belgrade, Birmingham,[31] Bucharest, Budapest, Bratislava, Chișinău, Cluj-Napoca,[32] Craiova, Exeter,[33][34][35] Graz, Iași, Izmir, Košice, Rostov-on-Don, Timișoara,[36] Yerevan [37]
airBaltic Riga
Air Moldova Chișinău
Arkia Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion
Austrian Airlines Graz, Innsbruck
operated by Air Serbia
Astra Airlines Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion
Blue Air Bacău, Larnaca, Timisoara[36]
BlueBird Airways Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion
Bulgaria Air Sofia
Ellinair Belgrade (begins 14 June 2016),[38] Samara (begins 29 May 2016),[39] Saratov (begins 29 May 2016)[40]
Enter Air Katowice, Łódź, Poznań, Warsaw–Chopin
Europe Airpost Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Germania Friedrichshafen
Israir Airlines Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion
Jet Time Copenhagen
Jetairfly Liège, Lille, Ostend/Bruges
Neos Milan–Malpensa, Verona
NordStar Moscow–Domodedovo, Norilsk [41]
Novair Stockholm–Arlanda
Orenair Moscow–Domodedovo, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg
Small Planet Airlines Katowice, Warsaw–Chopin
SmartLynx Airlines Riga
Sun D'Or
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 Warsaw–Chopin
Travel Service Slovakia Bratislava
TUIfly Nordic Helsinki

Traffic figures[edit]

Annual passenger throughput – 14-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 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.[42]


  • 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nikos Kazantzakis". WorldAeroData. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Statistical data of Iraklion airport "N. Kazantzakis" for the period 1994–2014" (XLS). Hellenic Civilian Aviation Authority. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "Heraklion Airport History". www.heraklion-airport.info. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  4. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2015/10/12/a3-bes-s16/
  5. ^ https://en.aegeanair.com/plan/book-a-flight/
  6. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2014/09/15/a3-s15update1/
  7. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2014/03/25/az-jun14/
  8. ^ "New flights from Thessaloniki and Athens!". astra-airlines.gr. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Astra Airlines". Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  10. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2015/05/21/bv-bgy-jul15/
  11. ^ http://www.thebasource.com/british-airways-announce-summer-london-gatwick-heraklion-route/
  12. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2015/10/20/sn-europe-s16/
  13. ^ "easyJet adds 20 new routes for summer 2015". easyJet. 10 December 2014. 
  14. ^ http://el.ellinair.com/
  15. ^ a b c http://el.ellinair.com/
  16. ^ http://el.ellinair.com/
  17. ^ http://el.ellinair.com/
  18. ^ http://el.ellinair.com/
  19. ^ http://el.ellinair.com/
  20. ^ http://el.ellinair.com/
  21. ^ http://el.ellinair.com/
  22. ^ http://www.mouzenidis.gr/avia-table/?CurPage=1&DepartureCityId=195&ArrivalCityId=218&DaysFlow=0&DateFrom=24-04-2016
  23. ^ https://www.eurowings.com/en.html
  24. ^ http://www.monarch.co.uk/
  25. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2015/03/23/qs-hungary-s15/
  26. ^ "SmartWings Contact". smartwings.com. 
  27. ^ a b http://airlineroute.net/2014/10/08/xg-s15update1/
  28. ^ http://www.tusairways.com
  29. ^ "Volotea". volotea.com. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  30. ^ http://www.vueling.com/en
  31. ^ http://bhxflightguide.blogspot.gr/2014/05/news-aegean.html
  32. ^ "CHARTER FLIGHTS". airportcluj.ro. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  33. ^ "A34254 flight history". flightradar24.com. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  34. ^ "A34255 flight history". flightradar24.com. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  35. ^ "Charter Flights". charterflights.co.uk. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  36. ^ a b "Zboruri Charter". aerotim.ro. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  37. ^ http://www.mouzenidis.gr/avia-table/?CurPage=1&DepartureCityId=968&ArrivalCityId=615&DaysFlow=0&DateFrom=26-06-2015
  38. ^ http://www.mouzenidis.rs/#
  39. ^ "Mouzenidis". mouzenidis.gr. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 
  40. ^ http://www.mouzenidis.gr/avia-table/?CurPage=1&DepartureCityId=195&ArrivalCityId=623&DaysFlow=0&DateFrom=29-05-2016
  41. ^ VQ-BDO, Boeing 737-800, NordStar Airlines – Large size. airpics.net. Retrieved on 2013-08-20.
  42. ^ "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