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Alicante–Elche Airport

Alicante–Elche Airport

Alicante–Elche Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche) (IATA: ALC, ICAO: LEAL), originally named El Altet, is —as of 2017— the fifth-busiest airport in Spain[4] 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, beating its own yearly record since 2013 to date; in particular, in 2015, it handled 10,574,484 passengers.[5] Then, in 2016 it set its new record with almost 12,350,000 passengers,;[6] in 2017 it set its new consecutive record at 13.7 million passengers.[4] It is one of the 50 busiest in Europe. Up to 80% of all passenger flights are international.[4] The largest numbers of passengers arrive from the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Sweden.[6] Popular domestic destinations are Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona.

Alicante–Elche Airport

Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche
Airport typePublic
ServesAlicante, Elche, Benidorm, Murcia and Albacete
LocationElche (Alicante)
Focus city for
  • Air Nostrum
  • Evelop Airlines
  • Jet2.com
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle
  • Ryanair
  • Vueling
Elevation AMSL43 m / 141 ft
Coordinates38°16′56″N 00°33′29″W [36]
Websiteaena.es [37]
ALC is located in Spain
Location within Spain
10/283,0009,842Asphalt / Concrete
Statistics (2018)
Passenger change 17–18Increase2.%
Aircraft Movements96,734
Movements change 17–18Increase1.5%
Sources: Passenger Traffic, AENA;[1] Spanish AIP, AENA[2][3]


Alicante Airport in 1972

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.[7] Iberia established a regular connections Alicante–Madrid and Alicante–Barcelona in November 1969.[8] 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.[7]

The next renovation took place during the 1990s.[8] A new office building together with operation and business centres were constructed. For the first time, five air bridges were installed to facilitate boarding.[8]

In 2011, the new terminal was opened at the airport increasing the annual airport capacity to 20 million passengers per year.[9] 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.[10]

Historically, up until 2003, Iberia was the leading airline at the airport.[11] With the decline of conventional airlines, in 2004 low-cost EasyJet took the lead.[11] In 2007, Ryanair, the largest European low-cost airline established a base in Alicante.[12] 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).[13]

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"[14] 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][15]

On 23 July 2016 the airport registered its busiest day to date, handling 347 flights—with an average of one flight every 3 minutes—and about 58,000 passengers in a single day.[16]


Interior of the new terminal

Interior of the new terminal

The New Terminal is the only terminal currently in service. Terminals 1 and 2 have been closed since the opening of the new terminal.

New Terminal

The new terminal (denoted as 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 that used the terminal 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.[17] 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 the new terminal 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 new terminal, as both terminals are currently unconnected.[10]

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 the new terminal 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.[18]

Airlines and destinations


Aer LingusDublin
Seasonal: Cork
Air AlgérieAlgiers, Oran, Tlemcen
Air EuropaMadrid, Palma de Mallorca
Seasonal: Asturias, Barcelona, Bilbao, Gran Canaria, Malaga, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Tenerife–North
Atlantic AirwaysSeasonal charter: Vágar[21]
BelaviaSeasonal: Minsk
British AirwaysLondon–Gatwick
Seasonal: Manchester
Seasonal charter: Edinburgh, Glasgow
Brussels AirlinesBrussels
easyJetBelfast–International, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London–Gatwick, London–Luton, London–Southend, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
easyJet EuropeAmsterdam, Berlin–Tegel
Seasonal: Milan–Malpensa
easyJet SwitzerlandBasel/Mulhouse, Geneva
EurowingsDüsseldorf, Stuttgart
Flybe[23]Doncaster/Sheffield (ends 26 October 2019), Exeter (ends 25 October 2019), Norwich (ends 25 October 2019), Southampton (ends 26 October 2019)
Iberia RegionalGran Canaria, Madrid
Seasonal: Bilbao, Ibiza, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife–North[24]
IcelandairSeasonal charter: Reykjavík–Keflavík
Jet2.comBelfast–International, Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, London–Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
LaudaDüsseldorf, Vienna (begins 30 October 2019)
LufthansaFrankfurt, Munich
Norwegian Air ShuttleÅlesund, Bergen, Billund, Copenhagen, Düsseldorf (ends 27 October 2019),[25] Gothenburg, Helsinki, London–Gatwick, Munich, Oslo, Reykjavík–Keflavík, Sandefjord, Stavanger, Stockholm–Arlanda, Tenerife–North, Trondheim
Seasonal: Aalborg, Harstad/Narvik, Tromsø
RyanairAberdeen, Beauvais, Belfast–International, Bergamo, Berlin–Schönefeld, Berlin–Tegel, Billund, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bologna, Bremen, Bristol, Brussels, Charleroi, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Cork, Dublin, Düsseldorf, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Exeter (begins 29 October 2019), Frankfurt, Gdańsk, Glasgow, Glasgow–Prestwick, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Haugesund, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Kaunas, Kraków, Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool, London–Gatwick, London–Luton, London–Stansted, London-Southend, Maastricht/Aachen, Manchester, Marseille, Memmingen, Milan–Malpensa, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newquay, Palma de Mallorca, Porto, Poznań, Rome–Ciampino, Rome–Fiumicino, Santiago de Compostela, Sandefjord/Torp, Seville, Shannon, Stockholm–Skavsta, Toulouse, Warsaw–Modlin, Weeze, Wrocław
Seasonal: Bordeaux, Kerry, Knock, Pardubice, Nuremberg, Munich, Västerås, Växjö
S7 AirlinesMoscow–Domodedovo, Saint Petersburg
Scandinavian AirlinesBodø, Oslo, Stavanger, Stockholm–Arlanda
Seasonal: Bergen, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Kristiansand, Trondheim
Smartwings PolandSeasonal charter: Katowice, Warsaw–Chopin, Wrocław
Swiss International Air LinesSeasonal: Geneva,[26] Zürich[27]
TAP Air PortugalLisbon
TAROMSeasonal: Bucharest
TransaviaAmsterdam, Eindhoven, Rotterdam
Transavia FranceParis–Orly
TUI AirwaysBirmingham, Cardiff, Doncaster/Sheffield, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London–Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
Seasonal: Bristol
TUI fly BelgiumAntwerp, Brussels, Casablanca,[28] Charleroi, Liège, Ostend/Bruges
Ukraine International AirlinesIvano-Frankivsk
Charter: Kiev–Boryspil[29]
VoloteaAsturias, Bilbao
Seasonal: Bordeaux, Lyon, Nantes, Toulouse, Venice
VuelingAlgiers, Amsterdam, Asturias, Barcelona, Bilbao, Brussels, Cardiff, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, London–Gatwick, Milan–Malpensa, Nantes, Oran, Palma de Mallorca, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Paris–Orly, Rome–Fiumicino, Santiago de Compostela, Saint Petersburg, Tenerife–North, Zürich
Seasonal: Menorca
Wizz AirBucharest, Budapest, Sofia, Vienna (begins 17 December 2019)
Seasonal: Cluj-Napoca, Warsaw–Chopin
YanairSeasonal: Kiev–Boryspil


DHL AviationTangier, Vitoria


Passengers and movements

PassengersAircraft movementsCargo (tonnes)
Source: Aena Statistics[1]

Busiest routes

**Busiest Routes from Alicante–Elche Airport, January–December 2016**
RankCountryPassengersTop Carriers
1London–Gatwick, United Kingdom831,403British Airways, easyJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair, Thomson Airways
2Manchester, United Kingdom815,873easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, Thomson Airways
3Amsterdam, Netherlands394,803KLM, Vueling, Corendon, Transavia, TUI Airlines Netherlands
4East Midlands, United Kingdom394,008Jet2, Ryanair, Thomson Airways
5Birmingham, United Kingdom367,145Ryanair, Thomson Airways, Vueling
6Newcastle, United Kingdom343,366easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, Thomson Airways
7Barcelona, Spain336,349Vueling
8Oslo, Norway325,862Norwegian Air Shuttle, SAS
9Leeds, United Kingdom314,598Jet2, Ryanair
10Bristol, United Kingdom313,691easyJet, Ryanair, Thomson Airways
11Brussels, Belgium305,044Brussels Airlines, Jetairfly, Ryanair, Vueling
12Madrid, Spain282,854Air Europa, Air Nostrum
13Copenhagen, Denmark239,352Norwegian Air Shuttle, Primera Air, Ryanair, SAS
14Luton, United Kingdom239,324easyJet
15Dublin, Ireland235,535Aer Lingus, Ryanair
16London–Stansted, United Kingdom234,747Ryanair

Busiest countries served

**Busiest Countries from Alicante–Elche Airport, January–December 2016**
RankCountriesPassengersTop Carriers
1United Kingdom5,898,042British Airways, EasyJet, Flybe, Jet2, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Monarch, Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Thomson Airways, Vueling
2Spain1,385,603Air Europa, Air Nostrum, Evelop, Ryanair, Vueling
3Netherlands925,087KLM, Ryanair, Vueling, Transavia, Tui Netherlands
4Germany887,962Air Berlin, easyJet, Eurowings, Lufthansa, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair, Transavia
5Norway756,228Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair, SAS
6Belgium641,215Brussels Airlines, Jetairfly, Ryanair, Vueling
7Sweden577,849Norwegian Air Shuttle, Primera Air, Ryanair, SAS
8Ireland332,187Aer Lingus, Ryanair
9Denmark317,668Norwegian Air Shuttle, Primera Air, Ryanair, SAS
10France295,419Ryanair, Volotea, Vueling
11Switzerland269,419SWISS, Vueling, easyJet
12Italy255,900easyJet, Ryanair, Volotea, Vueling
13Algeria247,057Air Algérie, Vueling
14Russia227,748Aeroflot, S7 Airlines, Vueling
15Poland208,404Ryanair, Travel Service, Wizzair
16Finland144,483Finnair, Norwegian Air Shuttle

Busiest airlines

**Top 16 Airlines in Alicante–Elche Airport during 2016**
1Ryanair (base)2,992,984Increase
2easyJet & easyJet Switzerland1,483,707Increase
3Vueling (base)1,093,494Increase
4Norwegian Air Shuttle & Norwegian Air International (base)893,319Increase
6Jet2 (base)634,163Decrease
8Air Berlin384,478Decrease
10Air Nostrum (base)276,849Increase
11TUIfly Belgium255,931Increase
13Air Europa207,842Increase
14Air Algérie161,990Increase
15British Airways128,212Decrease
16S7 Airlines107,383Increase

Ground transport

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. [30] 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.[31]

Bus station

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.[32] There are also hourly bus services to Benidorm and Torrevieja

See also

  • Transport in Spain



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