Alicante–Elche Airport

Alicante–Elche Airport
Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche
Alicante air logo.png
NAT-Aeropuerto-Alicante-(feb-2010).PNG
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator ENAIRE
Serves Alicante, Elche, Benidorm, Murcia and Albacete
Location Elche ( Alicante)
Focus city for
Elevation  AMSL 43 m / 141 ft
Coordinates 38°16′56″N 00°33′29″W / 38°16′56″N 00°33′29″W / 38.28222; -0.55806
Website aena.es
Map
ALC is located in Spain
ALC
ALC
Location within Spain
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
10/28 3,000 9,842 Asphalt / Concrete
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 12,344,945
Passenger change 15–16 Increase16.7%
Aircraft Movements 87,113
Movements change 15–16 Increase17.6%
Sources: Passenger Traffic, AENA; [1] Spanish AIP, AENA [2] [3]
Control Tower - Alicante Airport

Alicante–Elche Airport ( Spanish: Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche, ( IATA: ALCICAO: LEAL), originally named El Altet, is the fifth-busiest airport in Spain, based on passenger numbers, and the main airport serving the Valencian Community and the Region of Murcia.

The airport is located in the municipality of Elche, about 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) east of this city and about 9 km (5.6 mi) southwest of Alicante. Its influence area spans other cities in the Valencia province—the city of Valencia is located about 160 km (99 mi) north of the airport—and in the Region of Murcia. The airport is located about 70 km (43 mi) north of Murcia.

The airport is a base for Air Nostrum, Evelop Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair and Vueling. Passenger traffic has increased significantly in the last decade; in particular, in 2015 it beat its yearly record, handling 10,574,484 passengers. [4] Then, in 2016 it set a new, consecutive, record with almost 12,350,000 passengers, [5] making it one of the 50 busiest in Europe.

Up to 80% of all passenger flights are international. The largest numbers of passengers arrive from the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Sweden. [5] Popular domestic destinations are Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona.

History

Alicante Airport in 1972

El Altet airport opened on 4 May 1967, replacing the older aerodrome La Rabassa that had served Alicante since 1936. It took its name after the El Altet area (a part of Elche's countryside) where it was built. The first commercial flight that landed in the airport was Convair Metropolitan by Aviaco. [6] Iberia established a regular connections Alicante– Madrid and Alicante– Barcelona in November 1969. [7] In early 1970s passengers' traffic reached 1 million, which prompted a construction of a new passenger terminal. In 1980 the runway was extended to three kilometres. [6]

The next renovation took place during the 1990s. [7] A new office building together with operation and business centres were constructed. For the first time, five air bridges were installed to facilitate boarding. [7]

In 2011, the new terminal was opened at the airport increasing the annual airport capacity to 20 million passengers per year. [8] All flights arrive and depart from this new terminal. Terminals 1 and 2, which were in service before the opening of the new terminal, are currently closed. Works however will not be completed until 2014, as plans are to construct a connecting hallway between the new terminal and terminals 1 and 2 that will allow to exploit the passenger space of all terminals. [9]

Historically, up until 2003, Iberia was the leading airline at the airport. [10] With the decline of conventional airlines, in 2004 low-cost EasyJet took the lead. [10] In 2007, Ryanair, the largest European low-cost airline established a base in Alicante. [11] It has become the leading carrier at the airport in 2009, and by 2011 it has increased its presence further with eleven aircraft based, 62 routes, and more than 3 million passengers. However, from the end of October 2011, Ryanair has cut 31 routes due to disagreement with AENA on the usage of air bridges at the new terminal (before, they would always unload on the tarmac because it is cheaper but the owners of the airport want all planes to use the air bridges in the new building and not unload on the tarmac). [12]

The airport is located within Elche's comarca and so there had been a historical petition from Elche to include the city's name in the official name of the airport. This was implemented in July 2013 when the name of the airport was officially changed from "Alicante Airport" to "Alicante–Elche Airport" [13] with the IATA airport code remaining unchanged, ALC.

In 2015, the number of passengers increased by 5,1% to 10,574,484. The passenger traffic has increased in every year since 2000, with the exception of 2009 and 2012. By 2015 the largest number of passengers was carried by Ryanair (2,992,984), followed by EasyJet (1,285,221) and Vueling (1,093,494). Norwegian Air Shuttle (893,319) is the "distant" four. [1] [14]

On 23 July 2016 the airport registered its busiest day to date, hadling 347 flights—with an average of one flight every 3 minutes—and about 58,000 passengers in a single day. [15]

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