History of Malaga airport

Did you know that Malaga Airport is the oldest airport in Spain? If you have been to Malaga in the past few years, you’ve seen that it is gaining a considerable size; although yet it’s not comparable to the airports of the European capitals it’s nevertheless a stunning transformation. Let’s learn some curiosities about Malaga airport history.

Malaga Airport (1943)

20th century

Pierre-Georges Latécoère (1925)
Pierre-Georges Latécoère (1925)

Almost a century ago, namely on March 9, 1919, the French businessman Pierre-Georges Latécoère overflew Malaga city in a plane Salmson 2A looking for a plain where to land. Finally he landed on a plot called “The Rompedizo” where were conducted several test flights during the following months, leading to the opening of the first line Toulouse-Barcelona-Alicante-Malaga-Tangier-Casablanca on September 1 of that year. Malaga airfield came under the administration of the pilot Didier Daurat, a veteran of World War I.

The next notable event occurred in 1937, when Malaga airport was transformed into an air base, housing various schools of crew members, observers and Army Air Specialists.

A few years later, on July 12, 1946, the airfield was opened to domestic and international traffic although passenger services were still offered on the premises of the air base until 1948, when the first civil station was inaugurated.

The 60s

We again take a leap in time to the year 1960, when took place the most significant changes to date. During the following years were built an extension of the runway, a new passenger terminal (located just over 1km north of the original one) that opened on January 29, 1968; a control tower, a parallel taxiway, a parking area for planes and even a power plant. To these works must be added the installation of various navigation aids, such as a VASIS and VOR in 1965 (year in which the airport “El Rompedizo” or “Garcia Morato” was renamed “Malaga Airport”), a modern ILS (Instrumental Landing System) in 1966 and a Radar in 1970.

During these years took place a significant increase in non-scheduled flights, which lead to the construction of a new terminal to be inaugurated on June 30, 1972.

Malaga Airport (1970)
This period of change followed another quiet one, which was altered again in the 90s.

Malaga Airport T3 Departures

During the 70s and early 80s hardly took place any structural changes, but the steady growth of passengers and freight soon required the need of new facilities. On November 30, 1991 was inaugurated the Terminal “Pablo Ruiz Picasso”, designed by architect Ricardo Bofill. This new terminal, adjacent to the old international terminal has 2 plants to separate the incoming and outgoing passenger traffic.

Later, in 1995, was built a parking building right in front of Pablo Ruiz Picasso Terminal, leaving a tunnel between the two structures, which was used by taxis and other public transport services. That same year was remodelled the old building of the 40s, creating instead the current general aviation terminal.

Soon after, between 1996 and 1997, were built a new hangar for the repair of larger aircrafts and a cargo terminal. Aircraft parking was expanded and was equipped with a fuel system through hydrants.

21st century

Malaga Airport Control Tower
Already in 2002 was inaugurated the new control tower equipped with the “VICTOR” system that allows the display of all flight data in one single console, greatly speeding up the work of air traffic controllers.

Again, the avalanche of passengers using Malaga airport in recent years made necessary an expansion. After several years of work, not without problems, the new Terminal 3 was inaugurated in March 2010. It is attached to the T2 and has 12 boarding areas, 84 check-in counters, 2 counters for special baggage and 11 baggage reclaim belts, plus an additional belt for special baggage.

Besides the new terminal, a new car park building is created with over 2500 parking spaces available; furthermore a parking area for buses in the basement of T3 and a new train station of the commuter train line Fuengirola – Malaga Centre (and vice versa).

Malaga Airport New Runaway
In 2011 was changed the name of the airport, which was renamed “Malaga Airport-Costa del Sol”. What’s more, in summer 2012 was launched an additional runway, 2750 meters long, plus 340 meters extra for large aircrafts.

Finally, since early 2014 has opened the southern access to the airport, in order to decongest the main road and speed up the arrival and departure of vehicles from Terminal 3.

And that all folks! We shall meet again in a century to take another look at the history of Malaga Airport-Costa del Sol, or whatever you call it in a few years … Meanwhile, remember that we are still renting cars at Malaga airport, at very affordable prices, and with the best customer service!

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