Miguel Hernández Airport
Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche
|Serves||Alicante, Elche, Costa Blanca, Murcia and Albacete|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||43 m / 141 ft|
Alicante–Elche Miguel Hernández Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández, Valencian: Aeroport d'Alacant-Elx Miguel Hernández), (IATA: ALC, ICAO: LEAL), commonly known as Alicante–Elche Airport or simply Alicante Airport and originally named El Altet, is —as of 2019— 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, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair and Vueling. Passenger traffic has increased significantly in the last decade, beating its own yearly record since 2013 to date; in 2019 it set its new consecutive record at 15 million passengers. It is 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. Popular domestic destinations are Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona.
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. Iberia established a regular connections Alicante–Madrid and Alicante–Barcelona in November 1969. 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.
The next renovation took place during the 1990s. A new office building together with operation and business centres were constructed. For the first time, five air bridges were installed to facilitate boarding. A new control tower was inaugurated in 1996 and became fully operational in February 1997.
In 2011, the new terminal was opened at the airport increasing the annual airport capacity to 20 million passengers per year. 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.
Historically, up until 2003, Iberia was the leading airline at the airport. With the decline of conventional airlines, in 2004 low-cost EasyJet took the lead. In 2007, Ryanair, the largest European low-cost airline established a base in Alicante. 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 and the dual door boarding thus enabled quicker turnaround times but the owners of the airport want all planes to use the air bridges in the new building and not unload on the tarmac).
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. On 12 July 2013, the name of the airport was officially changed from "Alicante Airport" to "Alicante–Elche Airport" 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.
On 23 July 2016 the airport registered its busiest day of operations to date, handling 347 flights—with an average of one flight every 3 minutes—and about 58,000 passengers in a single day.
Terminal N is the only terminal currently in service. Terminals 1 and 2 have been closed since the opening of Terminal N in 2011.
Terminal N was officially opened on 23 March 2011. All flight operations at the airport were moved to this terminal on the following day. The first flight to depart from Terminal N was a Ryanair flight to Memmingen. The terminal has an area of 333,500 square metres (3,590,000 sq ft), which is more than six times the size of terminals 1 and 2 together. It includes 96 check-in desks, 40 gates, including 15 with airbridges, and 16 baggage reclaim carousels. The terminal is split into two areas, the processor where the C Gates are held, and the dock where the majority of B Gates are located. Flights within the Schengen Area use both areas of the terminal while flights to non-Schengen destinations only use the dock. This terminal was constructed to the east of Terminal 1.
Former Terminal 1
Terminal 1 (styled as T1) had 38 check-in desks numbered 1–38, along with one for special baggage which is desk number 39. It included 11 gates of which five have airbridges, which were the odd-numbered gates, and nine baggage reclaim carousels. It was closed after the opening of Terminal N on 24 March 2011. There are plans to reopen Terminal 1 in the future, which would require the construction of a connecting walkway with the current terminal, as both terminals are currently unconnected.
Former Terminal 2
Terminal 2 (styled as T2) had 14 check-in desks numbered 51–64, six gates (none with airbridges), and two baggage reclaim carousels. This terminal is adjacent to Terminal 1. The terminal was opened in January 2007. Prior to the opening of the new terminal whilst it was still active it was the smaller of the two terminals. Once Terminal N had opened on 24 March 2011, it was closed together with Terminal 1. Terminal 2 now handles General Aviation and will also soon be partially converted into a new overseas Headquarters for Jet2.com.
Airlines and destinations
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Passengers and movements
|Updated: 19 June 2020.|
|Passengers||Aircraft movements||Cargo (tonnes)|
|Source: Aena Statistics|
|1||London Gatwick, United Kingdom||892,138||British Airways, EasyJet, Norwegian, Ryanair Group, TUI Group, Vueling|
|2||Manchester, United Kingdom||745,827||EasyJet, Jet2, Ryanair Group, TUI Group, Thomas Cook|
|4||Amsterdam, Netherlands||436,483||EasyJet, KLM, Vueling|
|5||Brussels, Belgium||412,949||Lufthansa Group, Ryanair Group, TUI Group, Vueling|
|6||Birmingham, United Kingdom||409,468||Jet2, Ryanair Group, TUI Group|
|7||East Midlands, United Kingdom||403,673||Jet2, TUI Group, Ryanair Group|
|8||Oslo, Norway||381,664||Norwegian, SAS|
|9||Newcastle, United Kingdom||378,070||EasyJet, Jet2, Ryanair Group, TUI Group|
|10||London Stansted, United Kingdom||372,824||Jet2, Ryanair Group|
|11||Bristol, United Kingdom||367,353||EasyJet, Ryanair Group, TUI Group|
|12||Leeds Bradford, United Kingdom||330,331||Jet2, Ryanair Group|
|13||Luton, United Kingdom||317,087||EasyJet, Ryanair Group|
|14||Stockholm, Sweden||314,467||Norwegian, SAS|
|15||Madrid, Spain||299,927||Air Europa, Iberia|
|16||Palma de Mallorca, Spain||298,146||Air Europa, Iberia, Ryanair Group, Vueling|
Busiest countries served
|2||easyJet, easyJet Europe & easyJet Switzerland||1,941,350|
|4||Norwegian Air International & Norwegian Air Shuttle (base)||1,365,214|
|7||TUI fly Belgium||355,815|
|10||Air Nostrum (base)||283,530|
Alicante airport is accessible by buses, taxis, and private cars on automobile road N-338. New car parking was opened in 2011 together with the new terminal. employs a modern sensor system with displays.
The new terminal of the airport was built with space allocated for a railway station and an Alicante Tram stop. In 2019, the Generalitat Valenciana granted €50,000 towards a feasibility study in connecting Alicante Airport to the rail network.  The same year, the Ministry of Development put out to tender the contract to build the airport rail link to form part of the Cercanías Murcia/Alicante commuter rail network.
Alicante airport has one bus stop for all the bus lines operating at the airport. The bus stop at Alicante airport is located outside the departures area of the terminal on level 2. The airport is connected with the city of Alicante by the C6 bus line. There are also hourly bus services to Benidorm and Torrevieja.
Accidents and incidents
- In September 2013 a baby died at the airport shortly after arriving with relatives on a flight from London after the child's mother placed the baby in a carrier onto a conveyor belt used for bulky luggage items. The belt activated due to having detected the carrier's weight, and the baby became tangled in the machine's rollers.
- On April 10, 2017 a Jet2 Boeing 757-200 suffered a tailstrike during landing, damaging the area around the lower tail. The Spanish Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission determined the copilot, who was flying, left the nose too high during the landing and the captain failed to intervene. The copilot, who was on his final day of training after working for Jet2 for two years, reported to investigators he felt stressed due to pressure from Jet2 and was sleeping poorly. Jet2 fired the copilot following the accident.
- In January 2020 a fire in the international terminal's roof caused a 24-hour closure of the airport, with the diversion of 160 flights.
- "Alicante-Elche airport to be named after iconic poet Miguel Hernández, victim of Franco's régime". thinkSPAIN. 7 November 2020.
- "Estadsticas – Aeropuertos Espaoles y Navegacin Area – aena-aeropuertos.es". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- Spanish AIP (AENA)
- http://www.aena.es/csee/ccurl/74/661/anual-provisional-2012.pdf[permanent dead link]
- Antonio Martín (3 February 2018). "El Altet, de escala del correo francés a África al quinto aeropuerto español en 50 años". El Mundo. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
- Alicante Plaza (11 January 2017). "El Altet cierra 2016 con 12.344.945, su récord histórico" (in Spanish). Alicante Plaza. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
- Alicante Airport airports-worldwide.com
- "History – Alicante-Elche Airport – Aena". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- Alicante Airport New Terminal
- Old Alicante Airport Terminals to Reopen Archived 9 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine by Mark Nolan, The Leader Newspaper, 2011-12-09
- New terminal should help Alicante pass 10 million mark this summer; Ryanair now accounts for one-third of traffic anna.aero, Airport Analysis, 23 March 2011
- Ryanair announces 21st base in Alicante, Spain Archived 12 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine Ryanair News Release, 09.08.07
- Ryanair suprime 31 rutas en el aeropuerto de El Altet Las Provincias, 26.10.11
- "Introduction – Alicante-Elche Airport – Aena". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- Paco Escribano (25 July 2016). "Jornada histórica en el aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche con un vuelo cada 3 minutos" (in Spanish). INFORMACIÓN. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- Alicante Airport New Terminal, AENA Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine The airport in figures.
- "Aeroflot announces a new route: Alicante-Elche – Moscow Sheremetyevo" (Press release). Foroblog of Alicante-Elche Airport. 25 February 2016. Archived from the original on 7 September 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
- "Air France: new flights between Madrid and Paris Orly". lepetitjournal.com. 3 November 2019.
- "Atlantic Airways announces a new charter route: Alicante-Elche – Vágar". Foroblog of Alicante-Elche Airport. 6 February 2016. Archived from the original on 7 September 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
- Finnair adds frequencies to Japan and Europe for the upcoming winter season company.finnair.com 14 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018
- "Air Nostrum will fly from Vigo to Alicante, Las Palmas, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura". 17 January 2020.
- "Route map". norwegian.com.
- "Ryanair unveils summer network expansion". routesonline.com. 17 March 2021.
- "'"Seismic Day" for Teesside Airport As Ryanair Revealed As Low-Cost Carrier'". Teesside Airport. 25 November 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
- Ltd. 2018, UBM (UK). "Swiss expands Geneva European network from June 2019". Routesonline.
- "SWISS Adds Zurich – Alicante Route in S16". Airlineroute.net. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- "Transavia launches four new routes between Spain and France in June". hosteltur.comdate=17 March 2021.
- "50 new routes starting in April 2021". 7 April 2021. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
- Liu, Jim. "Volotea outlines post-COVID 19 network expansion in S20". Routesonline. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
- "Wizz Air announces new base and major expansion at Doncaster Sheffield Airport". Wizzair.com. 13 August 2020.
- Liu, Jim. "Wizz Air UK W20 new routes launch revision as of 24SEP20". Routesonline. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
- "Los accesos a El Altet, la variante de Benissa y unir la A-31 con la A-35, las inversiones de Fomento en 2019". Alicante Plaza (in Spanish). 14 January 2019. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "Contract for first phase of Murcia-Alicante Airport rail link put out to tender". Murcia Today. 28 August 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "Bus Travel to and from Alicante Airport". Alicante Airport Website. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
- Williams, Rob (20 September 2013). "Five-month-old baby boy killed in freak accident on Spanish airport conveyor belt". The Independent. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
- Gildea, Samantha (7 November 2018). "'Stressed' Jet2 copilot was sacked after botched Alicante landing, report reveals". LeedsLive. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
- "30,000 PASSENGERS AFFECTED BY ALICANTE-ELCHE AIRPORT FIRE". English Radio News. 16 January 2020. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
Media related to Alicante Airport at Wikimedia Commons