Alicante–Elche Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche, Valencian: Aeroport d'Alacant-Elx), (IATA: ALC, ICAO: LEAL), 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.
Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche
|Serves||Alicante, Province of Alicante|
|Focus city for||Ryanair|
|Elevation AMSL||43 m / 141 ft|
The airport is a base for Air Nostrum, Jet2.com, Norwegian Air International, 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.
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 to date, handling 347 flights—with an average of one flight every 3 minutes—and about 58,000 passengers in a single day. On 15 January 2020, it was reported that a huge fire had broken out in an office inside the terminal building. The building was evacuated and flights delayed.
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 1Edit
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 2Edit
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 destinationsEdit
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Passengers and movementsEdit
|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 servedEdit
|1||United Kingdom||5,598,054||British Airways, EasyJet, Flybe, Jet2, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair, TUI, Vueling|
|2||Spain||1,550,745||Air Europa, Iberia, Ryanair, Volotea, Vueling|
|3||Netherlands||919,171||EasyJet, KLM, Ryanair Group, Vueling|
|4||Germany||915,864||EasyJet,Lufthansa Group, Norwegian, Ryanair Group, TUI Group|
|5||Norway||766,289||Norwegian, Ryanair Group, SAS|
|6||Belgium||682,773||Lufthansa Group, Ryanair Group, TUI Group Vueling|
|7||Sweden||565,904||Norwegian, Ryanair Group, SAS|
|8||France||387,474||Air France, Ryanair Group, Volotea, Vueling|
|9||Ireland||355,887||Aer Lingus, Ryanair Group|
|10||Denmark||335,437||Norwegian, Ryanair Group, SAS|
|11||Italy||319,768||EasyJet, Ryanair Group, Volotea, Vueling|
|12||Switzerland||275,872||EasyJet, Lufthansa Group, Vueling|
|13||Algeria||258,184||Air Algérie, Vueling|
|14||Russia||243,644||Aeroflot Group, S7 Airlines, Vueling|
|15||Poland||217,010||Ryanair Group, Smartwings Group, Wizzair|
|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.
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Media related to Alicante Airport at Wikimedia Commons