Heraklion International Airport

Heraklion International Airport "Nikos Kazantzakis" (IATA: HER, ICAO: LGIR) is the primary airport on the island of Crete, Greece, and the country's second busiest airport after Athens International Airport. It is located about 5 km east of the main city centre of Heraklion, near the municipality of Nea Alikarnassos. It is a shared civil/military facility. The airport is named after Heraklion native Nikos Kazantzakis, a Greek writer and philosopher. Nikos Kazantzakis Airport is Crete's main and busiest airport, serving Heraklion (Ηράκλειο), Aghios Nikolaos (Άγιος Νικόλαος), Malia (Mάλλια), Hersonissos (Χερσόνησος), Stalida (Σταλίδα), Elounda (Ελούντα) and other resorts.

Heraklion International Airport
"Nikos Kazantzakis"

Διεθνής Αερολιμένας Ηρακλείου
"Νίκος Καζαντζάκης"
Heraklion International airport.png
Airport typePublic / Military
OwnerGreek State
LocationHeraklion, Greece
Opened1937 (1937)
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL115 ft / 35 m
Coordinates35°20′23″N 25°10′49″E / 35.33972°N 25.18028°E / 35.33972; 25.18028Coordinates: 35°20′23″N 25°10′49″E / 35.33972°N 25.18028°E / 35.33972; 25.18028
HER is located in Greece
Location of airport in Greece
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,714 8,800 Asphalt
12/30 1,566 5,138 Asphalt
Statistics (2019)
Passenger traffic changeDecrease 2.0%
Aircraft movements52,294
Aircraft movements changeDecrease 6.1%
Sources: Runways[1] Statistics: Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority[2]

A new airport for Heraklion, located 39 km to the south-east of the city at Kasteli, is under construction and due to open by 2025.[3] Once completed, the new Kasteli International Airport will replace the current Heraklion International Airport as the hub for central Crete.


The airport first opened in March 1939. This was then merely a piece of flat agricultural land. The first aeroplane (a Junkers Ju 52) carried the first passengers to the site. During the Second World War operations ceased, but in the fall of 1946 traffic resumed, introducing the DC-3 aircraft.[4]

At first, the airport only offered very basic service, with only primitive installations on the site, in the form of three tents, smoke for wind determination and storm lamps for runway lighting.

In 1947, the first (small) terminal was erected. Hellenic Airlines started commercial flights in 1948. At that time, a total of 4,000 people were served. The year 1953 saw the construction of a paved runway which was initially 1,850 meters long and oriented as 09/27. The next major event followed in 1954, when a four-engined DC-4 aircraft landed for the first time at the airport. In that year the airport handled approximately 18,000 passengers. From 1957 onward, the new Olympic Airways used the airport, starting services with the DC-6 aircraft. Jojo AIr also flew here but ended service on July 2, 2001.

From 1968 until 1971, the runway was extended to 2,680 meters and a new terminal and other facilities were constructed, essentially making it a new airport. On March 18, 1971, the first charter flight from abroad (British Airways) operated at the airport. The new airport itself was officially inaugurated on May 5, 1972.

Terminal ExtensionEdit

The latest airport expansion projects began in October 2017. The projects will be entirely financed by the Duty Free Shops SA, in agreement with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the Hellenic Ministry of Waters, without any cost to the Greek government, include:[5][6][7][8]

  • the redesign of the layout of the ground and the first floors of the airport
  • the expansion of the terminal by 2,900 m2), an extension of 17 meters to the airside
  • the renovation of a further 8,000 m2) within the existing terminal
  • the increase in the number of gates for arrivals and departures of passengers
  • integration of the arrival hall
  • the modification of a luggage belt, so that passengers are not required to queues for their receipt
  • improve the operation of electronic ticketing
  • upgrading the video ad system
  • the modernization of air conditioning in the arrivals hall (budget 700.000 euros)

The latest extension began in October 2017 and was completed on 30 March 2018, in time for the airport's high season.[9][10][11]

Further events

Year Event
1973–1975 Construction of aircraft hangars and service roads
1988 Inauguration of new international departure and arrivals lounges (900 m2)
1992 Completion of new international arrivals lounge
1994 Operation of new international departures lounge (2,000 m2)
1996 Completion of airport expansion by 11,700 m2
1997 Operation of new international departures lounge (5,000 m2)
2005 Completion of airport expansion by 18,985 m2
2018 Expansion of the terminal by 2,900 m2 and renovation of a further 8,000 m2

Airlines and destinationsEdit

Aegean Airlines Athens, Thessaloniki
Seasonal: Berlin (begins 27 March 2021),[12] Bordeaux, Brest,[13] Deauville, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva (resumes 7 May 2021),[12] Larnaca, London–Heathrow (begins 26 May 2021),[12] Lyon, Marseille, Metz/Nancy, Milan–Malpensa (resumes 24 May 2021),[12] Moscow–Domodedovo, Munich, Nantes, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Prague (resumes 15 May 2021),[12] Tel Aviv, Toulouse, Vienna (resumes 8 May 2021),[12] Warsaw–Chopin (begins 16 May 2021),[12] Zürich[14]
Seasonal charter: Cluj–Napoca, Katowice
Aeroflot Seasonal: Moscow–Sheremetyevo
Air France Seasonal: Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Air Moldova Seasonal charter: Chișinău[15]
airBaltic Seasonal charter: Riga[16]
Alitalia Seasonal: Rome–Fiumicino[17]
Animawings[18] Seasonal: Bucharest
Arkia Seasonal: Tel Aviv
ASL Airlines France Seasonal charter: Lyon,[19] Manchester[19]
Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Vienna
Seasonal charter: Graz,[20] Linz,[20] Salzburg[20]
Aviolet Seasonal charter: Belgrade
Azur Air Seasonal charter: Düsseldorf, Moscow–Vnukovo
Belavia Seasonal charter: Minsk
Blue Air Seasonal: Bucharest (begins 15 May 2021)[21]
Seasonal charter: Cluj–Napoca
Bluebird Airways Seasonal: Tel Aviv
Blue Panorama Airlines Seasonal: Bergamo,[22] Bologna,[23] Rome–Fiumicino
British Airways Seasonal: London–Gatwick[24]
Brussels Airlines Seasonal: Brussels[25]
Bulgaria Air Seasonal: Sofia (begins 22 May 2021)[26]
Buzz Seasonal charter: Katowice,[27] Kraków,[27] Poznań,[27] Warsaw-Chopin[27]
Chair Airlines Seasonal: Zürich
Condor Seasonal: Berlin,[28] Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Stuttgart, Zürich (begins 1 May 2021) [29]
Corendon Airlines[30] Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse (begins 8 May 2021),[31] Berlin, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Erfurt/Weimar,[32] Friedrichshafen,[32] Graz, Hamburg, Hannover, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Katowice,[32] Leipzig/Halle, Linz, London–Gatwick (begins 10 June 2021),[33][34] Memmingen,[32] Munich,[32] Münster/Osnabrück, Nuremberg, Paderborn/Lippstadt, Rostock,[32] Stuttgart, Vienna, Warsaw–Chopin (begins 9 June 2021),[33] Weeze (begins 3 May 2021),[32] Zurich
Seasonal charter: Iasi,[32] Riga[32]
Corendon Dutch Airlines[35] Seasonal: Amsterdam, Brussels, Groningen, Maastricht/Aachen, Rotterdam/The Hague
Cyprus Airways Larnaca (ends February 28, 2021)
easyJet Seasonal: Berlin, Bordeaux, Bristol, Edinburgh, Geneva, London–Gatwick, London–Luton, Manchester, Milan–Malpensa, Nantes, Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich
Ellinair[36] Seasonal: Belgrade, Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Kyiv–Zhuliany, Lviv, Moscow–Vnukovo, Saint Petersburg
Enter Air Seasonal charter: Katowice,[27] Warsaw–Chopin,[27] Wrocław[27]
Europe Airpost Seasonal charter: Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Eurowings Seasonal: Berlin, Cologne/Bonn, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
FlyOne Seasonal charter: Chișinău[15]
FlexFlight Seasonal charter: Vilnius
Freebird Airlines Seasonal charter: Leipzig/Halle [37]
GetJet Airlines Seasonal charter: Vilnius
Holiday Europe Seasonal charter: Vilnius (begins 25 April 2021)[38]
Helvetic Airways Seasonal charter: Zürich
Iberia Express Seasonal: Madrid
Israir Seasonal: Tel Aviv[39]
Jet2.com[40] Seasonal: Belfast–International, Birmingham, Bristol (begins 4 May 2021),[41] East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, London–Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne
LOT Polish Airlines Seasonal: Katowice,[42] Poznań,[42] Warsaw–Chopin,[42] Wrocław[42]
Lufthansa Seasonal: Frankfurt,[43] Munich
Lumiwings Seasonal: Forlì (begins 3 June 2021)[44]
Luxair Seasonal: Luxembourg
Neos[45] Seasonal: Bergamo, Bologna, Milan–Malpensa, Rome–Fiumicino, Verona
NordStar Seasonal charter: Moscow–Domodedovo
Nordwind Airlines[46] Seasonal charter: Kaliningrad, Kaluga ,[46] Kazan, Krasnodar, Mineralnye Vody ,[46] Moscow–Sheremetyevo, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg, Samara, Ufa, Voronezh, Yekaterinburg
Norwegian Air Shuttle Seasonal: Oslo, Stockholm–Arlanda
Ryanair Seasonal: Berlin,[47] Bologna, Milan–Malpensa, Thessaloniki (begins 29 March 2021), Vienna[48]
S7 Airlines Seasonal: Moscow–Domodedovo[49]
Scandinavian Airlines Seasonal: Oslo
Seasonal charter: Copenhagen,[50] Gothenburg[51]
Sky Express Athens, Kos, Rhodes, Thessaloniki[52]
Seasonal: Dortmund (begins 4 May 2021),[52] Hamburg (begins 4 May 2021),[52] Mytilene, Paros
SkyUp Seasonal: Kharkiv, Kyiv–Boryspil, Lviv, Zaporizhzhia
SmartLynx Airlines Seasonal charter: Riga,[53] Tallinn[53][54]
Smartwings[55] Seasonal: Bratislava, Brno, Katowice,[56] Košice, Lille,[57] Ostrava, Prague
Seasonal charter: Gdańsk, Poznań,[58] Warsaw–Chopin,[58] Wrocław[27]
Sunclass Airlines Seasonal charter: Billund,[59] Copenhagen,[59] Gothenburg,[60] Malmö,[60] Oslo,[61] Stockholm–Arlanda[60]
Sundair Seasonal: Berlin (begins 1 May 2021),[62] Dresden, Leipzig/Halle (begins 1 May 2021)[62]
Swiss International Air Lines Seasonal: Geneva, Zürich
Trade Air Seasonal charter: Ljubljana
Transavia Seasonal: Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Lyon, Montpellier,[63] Nantes, Paris–Orly, Rotterdam/The Hague
TUI Airways[64] Seasonal: Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster/Sheffield, East Midlands, Exeter, Glasgow, London–Gatwick, London–Luton, London–Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Norwich
Seasonal charter: Dublin[65]
TUI fly Belgium Seasonal: Brussels, Charleroi, Liège, Lille, Ostend/Bruges
TUI fly Deutschland Seasonal: Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hannover, Munich, Nuremberg, Saarbrücken, Stuttgart
TUI fly Netherlands Seasonal: Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Rotterdam/The Hague
Ural Airlines Seasonal charter: Yekaterinburg[66]
Volotea Athens
Seasonal: Bari, Genoa (begins 7 July 2021),[67] Lyon (begins 10 April 2021),[68] Marseille, Mykonos (begins 1 July 2021), Naples, Palermo (resumes 7 July 2021), Thessaloniki,[69] Toulouse, Venice, Verona
Vueling Seasonal: Barcelona, Rome–Fiumicino
Windrose Airlines Seasonal charter: Kyiv–Boryspil[70]
Wizz Air Larnaca (resumes 29 March 2021)[71]
Seasonal: Bucharest,[72] Budapest, Cardiff (begins 26 March 2021),[73] Chișinău (begins 16 June 2021),[74] Doncaster/Sheffield (begins 28 May 2021),[75] Dortmund (resumes 15 June 2021), Kraków (begins 15 June 2021),[76] London–Luton, Milan–Malpensa,[77] Vienna,[78] Warsaw-Chopin (begins 15 June 2021)[79]
Yakutia Airlines Seasonal charter: Moscow–Vnukovo[66]


Traffic figuresEdit

Historical annual traffic statistics[80]

Year Flights Passengers Passengers Change (%)
2001 39,290 5,046,726   2.0
2002 36,664 4,791,729   5.1
2003 39,523 4,833,507   0.9
2004 38,170 4,712,508   2,5
2005 38,266 4,932,911   4.7
2006 43,740 5,345,652   8.4
2007 46,012 5,438,369   1.7
2008 45,280 5,437,068   0.02
2009 44,842 5,052,840   7.1
2010 42,396 4,907,337   2.9
2011 44,520 5,292,687   7.9
2012 40,856 5,076,329   4.6
2013 43,544 5,792,429   14.7
2014 43,637 6,024,958   5.2
2015 43,970 6,057,355   0.5
2016 47,804 6,742,746   11.3
2017 51,114 7,336,783   8.8
2018 55,680 8,098,465   10.4
2019 52,294 7,933,558   2.0

Other facilitiesEdit

The airline Bluebird Airways has its head office at the airport.[81]


  • It is often requested by airlines that passengers do not take any photographs or video of the runway. This is because of a Hellenic Air Force base (126 CG) which operates at the airport.

See alsoEdit


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  2. ^ "Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority - Statistics". Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Kasteli Airport Deal Signed, Project Ready to Take Off". GTP Headlines. 2019-02-22. Retrieved 2020-01-10.
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  5. ^ "Προχωρούν τα έργα στο αεροδρόμιο Ηρακλείου - Πότε παραδίδεται το νέο κτίριο (φωτο)".
  6. ^ "Χρ. Σπίρτζης: "Χωρίς κόστος για το δημόσιο η επέκταση του αεροδρομίου Ηρακλείου"".[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Παίρνει μπροστά η επέκταση του αεροδρομίου "Νίκος Καζαντζάκης"".
  8. ^ "Παραχωρήθηκε η έκταση για την αναβάθμιση του αεροδρομίου Ηρακλείου".
  9. ^ "Αυτό είναι το ... νέο αεροδρόμιο !".
  10. ^ "Εικόνες από τους νέους χώρους του αεροδρομίου "Νίκος Καζαντζάκης"".
  11. ^ "Συνεχίζονται και ολοκληρώνονται οι εργασίες στο Αεροδρόμιο Ηρακλείου ενόψει της έναρξης της τουριστικής σεζόν".
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  81. ^ "Contact." (Archive) Bluebird Airways. Retrieved on 19 September 2012. "Offices: Heraklion International Airport "N.Kazantzakis" – Address in Greek Archived 2015-09-23 at the Wayback Machine: "Γραφεία: Κρατικός αερολιμένας Ηρακλείου Νίκος Καζαντζάκης"

External linksEdit

  Media related to Heraklion International Airport at Wikimedia Commons