Since 1948, more than 120 million passengers have passed through the infrastructure located in the Txorierri valley.
This Tuesday, Bilbao Airport celebrates 75 years since its inauguration. Since then, more than 120 million passengers have landed or taken off from its facilities, according to AENA.
In September 1948 it began its operation together with Sondika, in one of the few favorable lands at that time to develop an airport infrastructure in the area around Bilbao. Its first regular commercial flight was with Madrid, with Aviaco.
The first years of the infrastructure’s life were spent in constant growth, with the construction of a terminal, taxiways and the first buildings to locate the basic services that every aerodrome had to have at the time, as recalled by AENA.
In 1952 the flight to Bordeaux laid the first stone of international flights, conceived then as something “almost anecdotal and inaccessible.”
In 1964 the airport extended its original runway, 10-28, to 2,000 meters, giving impetus to an infrastructure that in the coming decades would seem “vital” for Bizkaia and Euskadi in the field of services and tourism.
In 1967 Iberia began operating in Bilbao when the terminal registered 100,000 passengers a year, less than those that now pass through the airport in a week.
In the following decade, the 1970s, “significant investment was made” in the facilities, with the expansion of the terminal and parking for passengers and the current runway 12-30 was built, in order to improve operations with the larger reactors that have operated since then.
The 1982 World Cup in Spain, in which Bilbao hosted, involved an investment of 500 million pesetas to modernize the terminal building and propose new accesses to the airport in Sondika.
In the 90s, Lufthansa arrived to connect with Frankfurt and thus complete what until then were the main connecting airports: Madrid and London.
As the turn of the century approached, the liberalization of air transport with the appearance of new airline companies and the emergence of the low-cost model in Europe, brought the need for an infrastructure for the 21st century, they have recalled.
In 1999 the current control tower was put into service. The following year, a new terminal and a new airport were opened in Loiu, with new and more comfortable accesses, much more capacity, and better services for passengers and airlines.
Consolidated as the gateway to the Cantabrian coast, Bilbao Airport in 2018 exceeded 100 million passengers throughout history. Once the pandemic is over, one of the most difficult moments in its history due to the abrupt stoppage of its activity, the infrastructure is prepared for new challenges, as reported by AENA.
With growing international traffic, more than 60 routes and around 6 million passengers a year, it has a new office building inaugurated last year that makes it possible to continue growing and providing “a quality service so that the success story of the Airport of Bilbao will continue its course in the coming decades”, they concluded.
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