Gibraltar Airport Past, Present and Future
Gibraltar Airport : Your adventure begins
Gibraltar Airport is located at the southern-most tip of the Costa del Sol, making it an ideal gateway airport for these vacationers staying anywhere from La Linea to Marbella, as well as being ideal for visitors to the Rock. Visitors to North Africa do well with Gibraltar Airport, just a few kilometers from the continent.
If you’ve never before flown into Gibraltar Airport, also known as North Front Airport, you’ll be amazed and fascinated by the view of cars lined up on the road connecting to Spain, Winston Churchill Avenue, as traffic is shut down waiting for your plane to cross their road as it lands in this fascinating piece of Britain adjoining Spain. It’s one of the very few international airports that literally crosses a highway. But hurry. This delightful experience will disappear when they complete the much talked-about tunnel beneath the runway.
The roadway, which is the only link between Spain and Gibraltar, will soon lose its routine day to day traffic upon the completion of the new vehicular tunnel. Pedestrians, though, still will be able to cross this road and will not be rerouted to the new road and tunnel. The new two lane roadway will pass under the terminal and will split in two. A traffic circle (roundabout) will facilitate connecting to Devil’s Tower Road and Winston Churchill Avenue. Certainly, traffic flow will be improved by the new tunnel, and safety will be improved as well since drivers will no longer be subject to unplanned delays and the attendant annoyances caused by the planes taking off and landing. You can be sure that the gas (petrol) station just 1 kilometer from the airport will adjust to accommodate its increased business without causing undue delays.
Travelling to Gibraltar
Its always a consideration when going on a day trip to Gibraltar to factor in the time it takes to cross the border. Many locals, tourists and site-seers know oh too well the extremities of the delays on a bad day getting in and out of Gibraltar. Its definitely worth getting a transfer quotation from a reputable minibus company especially if there is a group of you traveling. One such company Malaga Airport Transfers have room for 16 passengers and a separate trailer for shopping if you feel the need. When faced with extensive delays you can get dropped off at the border, and nip on a bus across the runway and into town within a few minutes. Then Malaga Transfers will arrange a time and meet you either inside Gibraltar if you a lot of shopping or back at the border whatever suits best. Why not drop them an email at http://www.malagaairporttransfers.com
Gibraltar Airport technically is a military facility operating under the Ministry of Defense by the Royal Air Force although there are no military aircraft stationed there at this time. It was originally constructed during World War Two and for some time had a very limited civilian traffic. Its terminal was only built to accommodate the small amount of civilian and military traffic expected. Soon its runway was extended to 6,000 feet to allow modern aircraft to land there. Today, the airport serves double duty as Gibraltar’s civilian airport and is officially named Gibraltar International Airport.
One of the joys of Gibraltar Airport is its proximity to the city of Gibraltar, just 500 meters from the edge of the city and 2 kilometers from the center of town. That makes it the closest airport to the city that it services. It’s just minutes to or from anywhere in the city via regular bus service, or taxis that are readily available from a taxi stand at the terminal. Convenient low-cost car rentals from Avis, Budget and Hertz, and free hotel transfers, are available, too. So, you’ve got choice at the Gibraltar Airport. Before you know it you’re at your hotel, apartment or guest house, taking in the exciting views of sea or bay or beach.
The just-opened new £100m terminal at the airport will easily handle an expected expansion of flights to and from Gibraltar, leading to a significant increase from the current million-plus visitors annually. The new two story terminal has 4 gates and 3 baggage carousels. Baggage handling and claims is much improved over the old facility. Adjoining the terminal is a new 220 space parking facility. Additional parking is planned for the near future on Devil’s Tower Road. You’ll find modern bureau’s de change, bars, shops and restaurants in the new terminal. And views from the terminal of the Rock are almost worth the trip all by itself.
Customs and a Spanish taxi stand, as well as a bus station at the new terminal make this part of your trip fast and easy. There is also an easily accessible official car park nearby as well as Rotunda Car Park a little further, which is not very expensive.
Gibraltar, Duty Free Territory
Gibraltar Airport is a duty free territory. In addition, Gibraltar, for tax purposes, is considered as outside the European Union. So, Gibraltar local businesses are expecting to see a rise in sales as the new terminal ramps up. With increased tourist travel, there should be an increase in business for the local attractions, such as Upper Rock Nature Preserve, the Apes Den and St Michael’s Cave. The Rock’s fine restaurants, golf course and beach facilities are also expected to benefit. And let’s not forget opportunities for investment, as well. Opportunities for special events, such as the championship chess tournament in 2011 are sure to be added to with the opening of the new terminal and the expected increase in tourist traffic.
Gibraltar has seen many ups and downs in its economy through the years since the airport was first built. Spain started and stopped flights a number of times as economic conditions on the Rock changed. Political differences over Gibraltar sovereignty also had an effect on Spanish traffic to Gibraltar. Recently, relations have changed somewhat, and with it have come some budget airline flights between Gibraltar and Madrid and Barcelona.
Flights to Gibraltar
Being so small a territory, flights to and from Gibraltar are relatively frequent, although not all from the same airport in the United Kingdom. But that should not deter the traveler or vacationer from choosing Gibraltar Airport as their destination. There is much to see and do and enjoy in Gibraltar and nearby areas.
At the present time most incoming and outgoing scheduled Gibraltar flights connect with the United Kingdom. British Airways and American Airlines fly between Gibraltar Airport and London’s Heathrow. London’s Gatwick and a new route from Liverpool are serviced by easyJet, and Monarch flies to Manchester. As traffic to the Rock has increased, those flights from Spain, which had stopped for a while, have been re-instituted. There are budget flights that are available from Barcelona and Madrid by Andalus Lineas and Aereas Airlines but on a less frequent schedule. It is expected that other airlines will soon look to add Gibraltar to their schedules.
Gibraltar, with the major boost from its new terminal at Gibraltar Airport, is looking forward to exciting times.