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Barcelona Airport
Aeroport de Barcelona
Aeropuerto de Barcelona
T1 Prat Aitor Agirregabiria.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Aena
Serves Barcelona, Spain
Location El Prat de Llobregat
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 14 ft / 4 m
Coordinates 41°17′49″N 002°04′42″E / 41.29694°N 2.07833°E / 41.29694; 2.07833Coordinates: 41°17′49″N 002°04′42″E / 41.29694°N 2.07833°E / 41.29694; 2.07833
Direction Length Surface
m ft
07L/25R 3,352 10,997 Concrete
07R/25L 2,660 8,727 Asphalt
02/20 2,540 8,335 Asphalt
Statistics (2009)
Movements 278,965
Passengers 27,311,765
Statistics: Aena[2]

Barcelona Airport (IATA: BCNICAO: LEBL), commonly known as El Prat Airport, is located 10 km (6.2 mi) southwest[1] from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, lying in the municipalities of El Prat de Llobregat, Viladecans and Sant Boi.

The airport is the second largest in Spain behind Madrid-Barajas Airport and the first in Catalonia. It is a main hub for Spanair and Vueling Airlines and a focus city for Air Europa and Iberia Airlines. The airport mainly serves domestic, European and North African destinations, also having minor flights to Southeast Asia, Latin America and North America.

The Barcelona-Madrid air shuttle service, known as the "Pont Aeri" (in Catalan) or "Puente Aéreo" (in Spanish), literally "Air Bridge", was the world's busiest route until 2008, with the highest number of flight operations (971 per week) in 2007.[3] The schedule has been reduced since February 2008, when a Madrid-Barcelona high-speed rail line was opened, covering the distance in 2 hours 40 minutes, and quickly became popular.

In 2009, 27,311,765 passengers used Barcelona Airport, a 9.8% decrease compared with 2008.[2]



Barcelona's first airfield, located at el Remolar, began operations in 1916. However, it did not have good expansion prospects, so a new airport at El Prat opened in 1918. The first plane was a Latécoère Salmson 300 which arrived from Toulouse with final destination, Casablanca. The airport was used as headquarters of the Aeroclub of Catalonia and the base for the Spanish Navy's Zeppelin fleet. Scheduled commercial service began in 1927 with an Iberia service to Madrid Cuatro Vientos Airport. This was Iberia's first route.

In 1948, a runway was built, today 07-25, in the same year the first overseas service was operated by Pan American World Airways to New York City, using a Lockheed Constellation. Between 1948 and 1952 a second runway was constructed (runway 16-34), perpendicular to the previous, also taxiways were constructed and a terminal to accommodate passengers. In 1963 the airport reached one million passengers a year. A new control tower was built in 1965 and the terminal was rebuilt in 1968 (currently the oldest wing of Terminal B).

On 3 August 1970, Pan American World Airways inaugurated regular service between Barcelona, Lisbon and New York, operated by a Boeing 747SP. On 4 November of the same year, Iberia began the "Air-shuttle" service between Barcelona and Madrid-Barajas. A few years later, in 1976, a terminal was built specifically for Iberia's air-shuttle service and a terminal exclusively for cargo, an annexed mail service and an aircraft ramp for air cargo. In 1977 the airport handled over 5 million passengers annually.

From the late seventies to the early nineties the airport was stalled in traffic and investments until the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona. El Prat underwent a major development consisting in the modernization and expansion of the existing terminal (terminal B) and the construction of the other two (A and C terminals) which included jetways for direct access to the aircraft. This reform was designed by architect Ricardo Bofill Levi. In 1996, a new control tower was inaugurated also designed by Ricardo Bofill Levi.

Due to the strong drop in air traffic after 1999 and the crisis in the aviation sector in 2001 many charter operations from Girona and Reus were diverted to El Prat, which helped the airport to endure the crisis.

El Prat today

Most of the traffic at Barcelona Airport is domestic and European, in which Spanair and Vueling have an operational base. However, the number of intercontinental connections is well below other European airports with their level of passenger traffic. The lack of intercontinental connections has been a constant cause of complaint and pressure by the authorities and Catalan groups in recent years, who want the airport to become a centre of world air traffic distribution and not just European.

In recent years the traffic of low-cost airlines has grown significantly, especially after the creation of operating bases by Vueling and Clickair at the airport. Vueling and Clickair merged in July 2009, now they operate under the name of Vueling. There are other low-cost airlines operating from the airport including easyJet and WizzAir.

The airport has 3 runways, two parallel, nominated 07L/25R and 07R/25L (the latter opened in 2004), and a cross runway 02/20. There are two terminals: T2, which is the sum of the previous Terminal A, B and C and the new T1 opened on 16/6/2009. The two terminals have a combined total of 268 check-in counters and 64 boarding gates. Operations at the airport are restricted exclusively to IFR (instrumental flights), except for sanitary VFR flights, emergency and government.

A plan for expansion (Plan Barcelona)[4] includes a third terminal building (also designed by Ricardo Bofill) and control tower. An additional runway (07R/25L) has also been built. Once these developments are complete in 2009, the airport will be capable of handling 55 million passengers annually (compared to 33 million passengers in 2007). The airport is slated to expand in area from 8.45 to 15.33 square kilometres (3.26 to 5.92 sq mi) by 2009. A further expansion is planned to be finished by 2012, with a new satellite terminal which will raise the capacity to 70 million passengers annually.

The airport is the subject of a political discussion over the management and control between the Generalitat of Catalonia and the Spanish Government, which has involved AENA (airport manager) and various airlines, Iberia and Spanair mainly. Part of the controversy is about the benefits that the airport generates, which are used in maintenance and investments in other airports in the network of AENA and government investments in other economic areas.


Terminal 1

Tarmac at gate A30

The new terminal T1, designed by Ricardo Bofill was inaugurated on 17 June 2009. The new terminal T1 has an area of 544,066 m2, and an aircraft ramp of 600,000 m2.

Its facilities include:

  • 168 check-in counters
  • 50 jetways
  • 15 baggage carousels (one of the new carousel is equivalent to 4 carousels in the old terminal) and
  • 12,000 parking spaces, in addition to the 11,900 already in the terminal 2 (current Terminals A, B, C).

The forecast is that the airport will be able to handle 55 million passengers annually and will reach 90 operations an hour.

The extension of the airport with a total investment of €5.1 billion in the future will include a new satellite terminal and refurbishment of existing terminals. The civil engineering phase of the South Terminal has been made possible by a budget of €900 million.

Terminals, airlines and destinations

Terminal 1
Pakistan International Airlines' first flight to Barcelona from Lahore, an Airbus A310-300 named 'Peshawar' on March 23, 2009
Terminal 2B with artwork by Miró
Airlines Destinations Terminal
Adria Airways Ljubljana [seasonal] 1
Aegean Airlines Athens 1
Aer Lingus Belfast-International [resumes 28 March], Cork, Dublin 2B
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo 1
Aerolíneas Argentinas Buenos Aires-Ezeiza 1
Aeroméxico Mexico City 1
Air Algérie Algiers 1
Air Arabia Maroc Casablanca 2A
AirBaltic Riga 1
Air Berlin Berlin-Tegel, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Palma de Mallorca, Stuttgart [begins 11 June] 2B
Air Canada Montréal-Trudeau [begins 5 June; seasonal], Toronto-Pearson [begins 4 June; seasonal][5] 1
Air Europa Athens [begins 4 July], Fuerteventura [seasonal], Ibiza, Lanzarote, La Palma [seasonal], Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Madrid, Minorca, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-North, Tenerife-South, Tunis 1
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle 1
Air France operated by Brit Air Lyon, Paris-Orly 1
Air France operated by Régional Ajaccio [begins 29 May], Bordeaux, Nantes 1
Air Mali Bamako [begins 28 March] 2A
Air Transat Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver [seasonal] 2B
Alitalia Milan-Linate, Rome-Fiumicino 1
American Airlines New York-JFK 1
Ándalus Líneas Aéreas Almería, Gibraltar [resumes 29 March], Nador, San Sebastián [begins 29 March] 2A
Arkia Israel Airlines Tel Aviv 1
Atlas Blue Marrakech, Tangier 1
Austrian Airlines Vienna 1
Austrian operated by Tyrolean Airways Vienna [seasonal] 1
Avianca Bogotá 1
Blue Air Bucharest- Băneasa 2B
Blue1 Helsinki 1
Bmibaby Birmingham [ends 7 June], East Midlands [begins 28 March; seasonal] 2B
British Airways London-City [begins 28 March], London-Heathrow 1
Brussels Airlines Brussels 1
Bulgaria Air Sofia [resumes 22 March] 2A
Cimber Sterling Copenhagen 2B
City Airline Gothenburg-Landvetter [begins 1 April] 1
Continental Airlines Newark 1
Croatia Airlines Zagreb [seasonal] 1
Czech Airlines Prague 1
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, New York-JFK 1
EasyJet Belfast-International, Berlin-Schönefeld, Bristol, Doncaster/Sheffield [begins 19 April], Dortmund, Liverpool, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, London-Stansted, Lyon, Milan-Malpensa, Newcastle upon Tyne, Paris-Charles de Gaulle 2C
EasyJet Switzerland Basel/Mulhouse, Geneva 2C
EgyptAir Cairo, Luxor 1
El Al Tel Aviv 1
Estonian Air Tallinn [seasonal] 1
Finnair Helsinki 1
Germanwings Cologne/Bonn, Hanover [begins 29 April], Stuttgart 2A
Iberia Madrid 1
Iberia operated by Air Nostrum Albacete, Almería, Asturias, Badajoz, Bologna, Bourgos, Corfu [seasonal], León, Marseilles, Murcia, Nantes, Nice, Olbia [seasonal], Pamplona, Salamanca, San Sebastián, Santander, Tangier [seasonal], Toulouse [begins 28 March], Turin, Valencia, Valladolid 1
Iberworld Asturias, Malaga 1
Icelandair Reykjavik-Keflavik [resumes 26 June; seasonal] 2A
Iceland Express Reykjavik-Keflavik [resumes 1 June; seasonal] 2A Leeds/Bradford 2A
Jet4You Casablanca, Nador, Tangier 2A
KLM Amsterdam 1
LOT Polish Airlines Warsaw 1
Lufthansa Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Milan-Malpensa, Munich 1
Lufthansa Regional operated by Contact Air Stuttgart [begins 29 March] 1
Lufthansa Regional operated by Eurowings Düsseldorf [ends 2 April], Stuttgart 1
Lufthansa Regional operated by Lufthansa CityLine Düsseldorf, Munich [ends 27 March] 1
Luxair Luxembourg 2B
Meridiana Florence 2A
Monarch Airlines Manchester 2B
Niki Vienna [begins 26 March] 2A
Norwegian Air Shuttle Bergen [begins 28 March] Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda 2A
Pakistan International Airlines Chicago-O'Hare [begins 20 June], Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore 2A
Qatar Airways Doha [begins 7 June] 2
Rossiya St Petersburg [seasonal] 2B
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca 1
Royal Jordanian Amman 1
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen 1
Singapore Airlines Singapore1 1
Sky Work Airlines Berne [begins 30 March] 2
Spanair A Coruña, Algiers, Alicante, Asturias, Banjul, Belgrade [begins 15 April], Bilbao, Birmingham [begins 20 May], Copenhagen, Edinburgh [begins 14 May], Fuerteventura, Granada, Ibiza, Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen [begins 4 May], Jerez de la Frontera, Lanzarote, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Madrid, Málaga, Marseille [begins 21 April], Minorca, Munich, Nador [begins 18 April], Palma de Mallorca, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Stockholm-Arlanda, Tel Aviv [begins 2 May], Tenerife-North, Tenerife-South, Valencia, Venice-Marco Polo [begins 23 April], Vigo, Zagreb [begins 19 April] 1
Sun d'Or International Airlines Tel Aviv 1
Swiss International Air Lines Geneva, Zürich 1
Swiss operated by Swiss European Air Lines Basel/Mulhouse 1
TAP Portugal Lisbon 1
TAP operated by Portugália Lisbon, Porto 1
TAROM Bucharest-Otopeni 1
Transaero Airlines Moscow-Domodedovo [ends 27 March] 2A Amsterdam, Rotterdam [begins 6 April] 2A Denmark Copenhagen 2A
Travel Service Airlines operated by Smart Wings Prague [resumes 2 April] 2A
Tunisair Tunis 1
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk 1
Ukraine International Airlines Kiev-Boryspil, Lviv [begins 17 June] 1
US Airways Philadelphia [seasonal] 1
VIM Airlines Moscow-Domodedovo [ends 27 March] 2A
Vueling Airlines A Coruña, Alicante, Amsterdam, Asturias, Athens, Bilbao, Brussels, Bucharest-Otopeni, Budapest, Dubrovnik [resumes 28 March], Granada, Ibiza, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Jerez de la Frontera, Lisbon, Ljubljana [begins 26 June], Madrid, Málaga, Malta [resumes 30 March], Marrakech, Milan-Malpensa, Minorca, Moscow-Domodedovo [resumes 30 April], Naples, Nice, Palermo, Paris-Orly, Pisa, Prague, Rome-Fiumicino, Santiago de Compostela, Saint Petersburg [resumes 25 June], Seville, Tenerife-North, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona [resumes 29 March], Vienna, Vigo 1
Wind Jet Catania [seasonal], Palermo [seasonal] 2B
Wizz Air Bucharest-Băneasa, Budapest, Cluj-Napoca, Gdánsk [begins 24 April], Katowice, Prague, Sofia, Timisoara, Warsaw [begins 29 March] 2A

^1 : Singapore Airlines flights make a stop in Milan-Malpensa, but Singapore Airlines does not have the rights to carry passengers between Milan-Malpensa and Barcelona.

Cargo airlines

Airlines Destinations
British Airways World Cargo East Midlands, London-Heathrow, London-Luton
Cargolux Hong Kong, Jeddah, Luxembourg
DHL Vitoria-Gasteiz
Emirates SkyCargo Dubai, Mexico City
FedEx Express Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Jade Cargo International Brescia, Shanghai-Pudong, Shenzhen
TNT Airways Liege, Brussels
United Parcel Service Cologne/Bonn, Valencia


Graphical volume of passenger traffic between 1963 and 2006
Passenger Volume
Year Passengers % Year Passengers %
1963 1,000,000 - 1999 17,421,938 +7.6
1977 5,000,000 - 2000 19,809,567 +13.8
1990 9,205,000 - 2001 20,745,536 +4.7
1991 9,145,000 -0.7 2002 21,348,211 +2.9
1992 10,196,000 +11.5 2003 22,752,667 +6.6
1993 9,999,000 -2.0 2004 24,558,138 +7.9
1994 10,647,285 +6.5 2005 27,152,745 +10.6
1995 11,727,814 +10.1 2006 30,008,152 +10.5
1996 13,434,679 +14.6 2007 32,898,249 +9.6
1997 15,065,724 +12.1 2008 30,208,134 -8.2
1998 16,194,805 +7.3 2009

Font: Aeroport de Barcelona, AENA.

Operations Volume
Year Operations %
1999 233,609 -
2000 255,913 +9.5
2001 273,119 +6.3
2002 271,023 -0.8
2003 282,021 +4.1
2004 291,369 +3.3
2005 307,798 +5.6
2006 327,636 +6.4
2007 352,501 +7.6
2008 321,491 -8.8
Cargo Volume
Year Tonnes %
1999 88,217 -
2000 88,269 +2.4
2001 81,882 -7.8
2002 75,905 -7.3
2003 70,118 -7.6
2004 84,985 +21.2
2005 90,446 +6.4
2006 93,404 +3.3
2007 96,770 +3.6
2008 104,329 +7.7

Ground transportation


Terminal 2 has its own RENFE commuter train station on the line Rodalies Barcelona Line 2 Nord , which runs from the Maçanet-Massanes station, with major stops at Barcelona Sants railway station and the fairly central Passeig de Gràcia railway station to provide transfer to the Barcelona Metro system. Passengers for T1 must take a connecting bus from the train station to T1. As part of the major expansion above, a new railway station will be built nearby, connecting the airport to the Spanish AVE network, and Line 9 of the Barcelona Metro.


The Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) public bus on line 46 runs every 16 minutes from Plaça Espanya. A scheduled private bus line (Aerobús) from Plaça Catalunya, stops at Urgell and Plaça d'Espanya. Taxi stops are available at each terminal. The C-32B highway connects the airport to a main traffic interchange between Barcelona's Ronda de Dalt beltway and major motorways.

Airport parking

Barcelona Airport has approximately 24,000 parking spaces (12,000 at T1 & 12,000 at T2), 2,009 of them are in the parking building, placed in front of Terminal 2C, which it is connected to the airport by a covered corridor. In front of Terminal 2A, another parking building, which adds approximately 2,600 more spaces, this building is being extended with the construction of two new levels. The remainder are distributed in other areas on the exterior, in front of the terminal buildings and offices buildings. Since 16/6/2009, there is also a long stay parking between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

Incidents and Accidents

  • On 21 October 1994 a Falcon 20 cargo aircraft made an emergency landing at the airport after suffering a malfunction in its landing gear, none of the three crewmembers were injured.
  • On 19 February 1998, two people, the commander and the pilot died in an Ibertrans general aviation plane crash in the borough of Gavà shortly after taking off from El Prat.
  • On 28 July 1998 a general aviation cargo plane carrying press from Mallorca crashed next to one of the fences surrounding the airport, killing two crew members and co-pilot.


  • Zunino, Eric (November 2004) "Barcelona Airport", Airline World, pp. 40–43.

External links


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