Heraklion International Airport

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Heraklion International Airport
"Nikos Kazantzakis"

Διεθνής Αερολιμένας Ηρακλείου
"Νίκος Καζαντζάκης"
Heraklion International airport.png
Airport typePublic / Military
OwnerGreek State
LocationHeraklion, Greece
Opened1937 (1937)
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL115 ft / 35 m
Coordinates35°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
HER is located in Greece
Location of airport in Greece
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,714 8,800 Asphalt
12/30 1,566 5,138 Asphalt
Statistics (2019)
Passenger traffic changeDecrease 2.0%
Aircraft movements52,294
Aircraft movements changeDecrease 6.1%
Sources: Runways[1] Statistics: Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Heraklion International Airport "Nikos Kazantzakis" (IATA: HER, ICAO: 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 centre 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.

A new airport for Heraklion, located 39 km to the south-east of the city at Kasteli, is under construction and due to open by 2025.[3] Once completed, the new Kasteli International Airport will replace the current Heraklion International Airport as the hub for central Crete.


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, the airfield was the site of the Battle of Heraklion, during the Battle of Crete in 1941. Civilian operations ceased, but in the autumn of 1946 traffic resumed, 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. Jojo AIr also flew here but ended service on July 2, 2001.

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.

Terminal extension[edit]

The latest airport expansion projects began in October 2017.[5][6][7][8]

The latest extension began in October 2017 and was completed on 30 March 2018, in time for the airport's high season.[9][10][11]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Aegean Airlines Athens, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich
Seasonal: Alexandroupoli,[12] Belgrade,[13] Bordeaux, Brest, Deauville, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Tirana,[14] Toulouse, Vienna,[15] Zürich[16]
Seasonal charter: Cluj–Napoca, Friedrichshafen,[17] Gdańsk, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden,[18] Münster/Osnabrück,[19] Timișoara, Yerevan
Air Astana Seasonal: Almaty,[20] Nur-Sultan[20]
Air France Seasonal: Marseille, Nice,Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Air Moldova Seasonal charter: Chișinău[21]
Air Serbia Seasonal charter: Belgrade
airBaltic Seasonal: Riga[22]
Animawings[23] Seasonal: Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca[24]
Arkia Seasonal: Tel Aviv
ASL Airlines France Seasonal charter: Lyon
Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Vienna
Seasonal charter: Salzburg[25]
Avion Express Seasonal charter: Vilnius
Blue Air Seasonal: Bucharest,[26] Cluj–Napoca,[27] Iași[28]
Bluebird Airways Seasonal: Tel Aviv
British Airways Seasonal: London–Gatwick,[29] London–Heathrow
Brussels Airlines Seasonal: Brussels[30]
Bulgaria Air Seasonal: Sofia
Buzz Seasonal charter: Gdańsk, Katowice, Rzeszów, Wrocław
Chair Airlines Seasonal: Zürich
Condor Seasonal: Berlin,[31] Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna,[32] Zürich[33]
Corendon Airlines[34] Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse,[35] Berlin, Billund,[36] Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen,[36] Düsseldorf, Erfurt/Weimar,[37] Friedrichshafen,[37] Graz,[38] Hannover, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Katowice,[37] Leipzig/Halle, Linz, London–Gatwick,[39][40] Manchester,[40] Memmingen,[37] Münster/Osnabrück, Nuremberg, Paderborn/Lippstadt, Rostock,[37] Saarbrücken, Salzburg,[41] Vienna, Zurich
Seasonal charter: Iasi,[37] Riga[37]
Corendon Dutch Airlines[42] Seasonal: Amsterdam, Brussels, Groningen, Maastricht/Aachen
Cyprus Airways Seasonal: Larnaca
easyJet Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse,[43] Berlin, Bordeaux, Bristol, Edinburgh, Geneva, Liverpool,[43] London–Gatwick, London–Luton, Manchester, Milan–Malpensa, Nantes, Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich
Enter Air Seasonal charter: Katowice,[44] Warsaw–Chopin,[44]
Etihad Airways Seasonal: Abu Dhabi[45]
European Air Charter Seasonal charter: Friedrichshafen, Graz, Linz[46]
Eurowings Seasonal: Berlin, Cologne/Bonn, Dortmund,[47] Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Prague, Salzburg, Stockholm–Arlanda,[48] Stuttgart
Seasonal charter: Innsbruck[49]
Eurowings Discover Seasonal: Frankfurt, Munich
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
FlyOne Seasonal charter: Chișinău[21]
Freebird Airlines Seasonal: Paderborn/Lippstadt
Seasonal charter: Cologne/Bonn, Leipzig/Halle[50]
Georgian Airways Seasonal: Yerevan
GetJet Airlines Seasonal charter: Vilnius
Helvetic Airways Seasonal: Bern, Zürich[51]
Iberia Express Seasonal: Madrid
Israir Seasonal: Tel Aviv[52]
ITA Airways Seasonal: Milan–Linate [53] Rome–Fiumicino
Jet2.com[54] Seasonal: Belfast–International, Birmingham, Bristol,[55] East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, London–Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
LOT Polish Airlines Seasonal: Katowice[56]
Lufthansa Seasonal: Frankfurt,[57] Munich
Luxair Seasonal: Luxembourg
Neos[58] Seasonal: Bergamo[59] Bologna, Milan–Malpensa, Rome–Fiumicino, Verona
Norwegian Air Shuttle Seasonal: Copenhagen,[60] Oslo, Stockholm–Arlanda
Olympic Air Thessaloniki
Seasonal: Rhodes
Ryanair Seasonal: Bergamo, Berlin, Bologna, Charleroi, Corfu, Milan–Malpensa, Thessaloniki, Vienna
Scandinavian Airlines Seasonal: Oslo, Copenhagen[61]
Seasonal charter: Gothenburg[62]
Sky Express Athens, Kos, Rhodes, Thessaloniki[63]
Seasonal: Brussels,[64] Karpathos,[65] Lille, Lyon,[66] Marseille,[67] Nantes,[68] Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Volos, Warsaw–Chopin, Zakynthos[65]
Seasonal charter: Amsterdam,[69] Lisbon[70]
SmartLynx Airlines Seasonal charter: Riga,[71] Tallinn[71][72]
Smartwings[73] Seasonal: Bratislava, Brno, Košice, Ostrava, Prague
Seasonal charter: Budapest, Gdańsk, Poznań,[74] Warsaw–Chopin,[74] Wrocław[44]
Sunclass Airlines Seasonal charter: Billund,[75] Copenhagen,[75] Gothenburg,[76] Malmö,[76] Oslo,[77] Stockholm–Arlanda[76]
Sundair[78] Seasonal: Berlin, Bremen, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Kassel, Lübeck
Swiss International Air Lines Seasonal: Geneva, Zürich
Trade Air Seasonal charter: Ljubljana
Transavia Amsterdam
Seasonal: Brussels[79] Eindhoven, Lyon, Montpellier,[80] Nantes, Paris–Orly, Rotterdam/The Hague
TUI Airways[81] Seasonal: Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster/Sheffield, East Midlands, Exeter, London–Gatwick, London–Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Norwich
Seasonal charter: Dublin[82]
TUI fly Belgium Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Brussels, Charleroi, Liège, Lille, Ostend/Bruges
TUI fly Deutschland Seasonal: Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hannover, Munich, Nuremberg, Saarbrücken, Stuttgart
TUI fly Netherlands Seasonal: Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Rotterdam/The Hague
Tus Airways Seasonal: Tel Aviv[83]
Volotea Athens
Seasonal: Bari, Lille,[84] Lyon,[85] Marseille, Nantes,[86] Naples, Toulouse, Venice, Verona
Vueling Seasonal: Barcelona, Rome–Fiumicino
Wizz Air Seasonal: Belgrade,[87] Bucharest,[88] Budapest, Cardiff,[89] Catania,[90] Gdańsk,[91] Kraków,[91] London–Luton, Milan–Malpensa,[91] Rome–Fiumicino,[92] Tel Aviv,[91] Warsaw–Chopin[91]


Traffic figures[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at HER airport. See source Wikidata query.

Historical annual traffic statistics[93]

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 6,024,958 Increase 5.2
2015 43,970 6,057,355 Increase 0.5
2016 47,804 6,742,746 Increase 11.3
2017 51,114 7,336,783 Increase 8.8
2018 55,680 8,098,465 Increase 10.4
2019 52,294 7,933,558 Decrease 2.0
2020 20,876 2,398,264 Decrease 69.8
2021 38,628 5,046,236 Increase 112.2

Other facilities[edit]

The airline Bluebird Airways has its head office at the airport.[94]

See also[edit]


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  94. ^ "Contact." (Archive) Bluebird Airways. Retrieved on 19 September 2012. "Offices: Heraklion International Airport "N.Kazantzakis" – Address in Greek Archived 2015-09-23 at the Wayback Machine: "Γραφεία: Κρατικός αερολιμένας Ηρακλείου Νίκος Καζαντζάκης"

External links[edit]

Media related to Heraklion International Airport at Wikimedia Commons