Rabah Bitat Airport

Coordinates: 36°49′45″N 7°48′50″E / 36.82917°N 7.81389°E / 36.82917; 7.81389
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Annaba Rabah Bitat Airport

مطار عنابة - رابح بيطاط (Arabic)

Aéroport d'Annaba Rabah Bitat (French)
Airport typePublic
ServesAnnaba, Algeria
Elevation AMSL5 m / 16 ft
Coordinates36°49′45″N 7°48′50″E / 36.82917°N 7.81389°E / 36.82917; 7.81389
AAE is located in Algeria
Location of airport in Algeria
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01/19 3,000 9,843 Asphalt
05/23 2,290 7,513 Asphalt
Statistics (2020[1])
Passenger volume105,229
Sources: AIP[2] DAFIF,[3][4] ACI's 2013 World Airport Traffic Report.

Annaba Rabah Bitat Airport (IATA: AAE, ICAO: DABB), formerly known as Les Salines Airport, and popularly as El Mellah Airport is an international airport located 9 km (5.6 mi) south of Annaba, a city in Algeria.[2] It is named after Rabah Bitat, a president of Algeria (1978-1979).


Built at the time of French Algeria, the airport was named Bône-les-Salines, in reference to the salt lakes in the vicinity of the site.

It was put into operation in 1939, and a decree of December 16, 1958, entrusted the operation to the Chamber of Commerce of Bône.[5]

World war II[edit]

During World War II, the airport was known as Bone Airfield, and was used by the German Luftwaffe. It was later captured by the United States Army, the USAAF Twelfth Air Force in the Western Desert Campaign in 1942–1943.

In November 1942, the Allies invaded French Morocco and Algeria (Operation Torch). The British airborne operations in North Africa started on 12 November, when the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment carried out the first battalion sized parachute drop on Bone airfield. The remainder of the 1st Parachute Brigade arrived by sea the next day. Bone Airfield was the base of No. 111 Squadron RAF, a Supermarine Spitfire squadron under Squadron Leader Tony Bartley. One notable pilot to fly from Bone on occasion was Wing Commander Adrian Warburton who was an infrequent visitor after crash landing there on 15 November 1942. 81 Squadron were based at Bone from 16 November to 31 January 1942 with 'Ras' Berry DSO DFC and then Colin F Gray DSO DFC being Squadron Leaders. Alan M Peart DFC also claimed his first aerial combat victory as well as two further aircraft damaged over Bone Harbour during this time.[6]

Algerian war[edit]

After the war, the air base 213 one of the air bases of the French Air Force, was established on the site at that time. It was home to the 1/91 Gascogne Bombardment Group, a unit recreated on September 1, 1956 (and temporarily dissolved on September 17, 1962, after the Algerian War), which was equipped with Douglas B-26 Invaders.[7]

Post-war period[edit]

After Algerian independence and until 2000, Annaba airport was named El-Mellaha (meaning in Arabic "Les Salines").

Since then, the airport has been named in honor of Rabah Bitat, former head of the Algerian state.


The old terminal had an annual capacity of 500,000 passengers. In January 2016, the new international terminal was opened. The new terminal, which on commissioning generated 300 jobs, has an expandable capacity of 700,000 passengers per year.[8]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Air Algérie[9]Algiers, Istanbul, Lyon, Marseille, Oran, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Paris–Orly
Tassili AirlinesAlgiers, El Oued, Hassi Messaoud
VoloteaSeasonal: Marseille[10][11]


The evolution of air traffic at Annaba airport between 2006 and 2020 is:[12]

Traffic Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Total 362 303 372 244 386 607 416 435 402 585 421 547 446 846 462 003 473 530 489 739 530 709 553 349 520 493 515 481 105 229


  1. ^ "Statistiques des Passagers de 2011 à 2020" (PDF; 229 KB). egsa-constantine.dz (in French). EGSA Constantine. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  2. ^ a b AIP and Chart from Service d'Information Aéronautique - Algerie (in French)
  3. ^ "Airport information for DABB". World Aero Data. Archived from the original on 5 March 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link) Data current as of October 2006. Source: DAFIF. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
  4. ^ Airport information for AAE / DABB at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006). Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  5. ^ "Arrêté du 16 Décembre 1958: Concession d'Exploitation de l'Aeroport de Bone-Les-Salines a la Chambre de Commerce de Bone" [Order of December 16, 1958: Bône-Les-Salines Airport Operation Concession to the Bône Chamber of Commerce]. Legifrance.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  6. ^ The National Archive reference TNA AIR-678-23
  7. ^ d'Algérie, Avions de la Guerre. "22 - Douglas A/B-26 "Invader"". Le blog de Avions de la Guerre d'Algérie (in French). Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Sellal inaugurates new terminal of Annaba". Algeria Press Service. 9 March 2016. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Air Algérie Route Map". Retrieved 22 January 2011.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ https://www.algerie-eco.com/2022/07/27/volotea-vers-louverture-dune-nouvelle-liaison-entre-marseille-et-annaba/
  11. ^ https://volotea.com/en/
  12. ^ "Statistiques du Trafic aérien". Etablissement de Gestion de Services Aéroportuaires de Constantine (in French). Retrieved 27 August 2021.

External links[edit]

Media related to Annaba Rabah Bitat Airport at Wikimedia Commons