Heraklion International Airport Nikos Kazantzakis (code IATA: HER – ICAO code: LGIR), is the main airport of Crete island and Heraklion city in Greece and is the second most traffic in Greece after the Athens Airport. It is located about 3 miles east of the center of the city of Heraklion, near the municipality of Nea Alikarnassos. It’s a shared military and civilian facility
The airport is named after Nikos Kazantzakis, a writer and philosopher native of Heraklion, . The airport is Crete’s main and most busy airport, serving Heraklion
It operates both domestic flights and flights to major parts of Europe.
Heraklion airport opened for the first time in March 1939. So it was just a piece of agricultural land. The first plane (a Ju-52 Junkers) brought the first passengers. During World War II, operations ceased, but in the autumn of 1946 traffic returned with the introduction of Douglas DC-3.2Initially, the airport only offered a very basic service, with primitive facilities, in the form of three tents, with smoke to determine the wind speed and lamps for lighting the runway during storms. In 1947, the first (small) terminal was built. Hellenic Airlines started commercial flights in 1948.
At that time, a total of 4,000 people were transported. In 1953, a paved runway was built that was initially 1,850 meters long and oriented like 09/27. The next major event happened in 1954, when a DC-4 four-engine airplane landed at the airport for the first time. In 2002, airport traffic amounted to 18,000 passengers.
From 1957 onwards, Olympic Airways started operating the airport, starting with the DC-6 aircraft. From 1968 to 1971, the 2,680-meter track was expanded and a new terminal and other facilities were built, thus bringing about a new airport. On 18 March 1971 British Airways operated the first charter flight from abroad. The new airport itself was officially inaugurated on May 5, 1972.
New Heraklion Airport
During the summer months it becomes a very congested airport. During this period it is not uncommon for passengers to wait in the check-in queue outside the terminal.
Therefore, the construction of a new airport in Kastelli Pediados has been planned. The cost of this airport will be approximately one billion €. When the new airport is operational, the existing airport will cease to operate. The new Heraklion airport will be adjacent to the existing airbase and and will require new roads, water and sanitation projects, including the relocation of settlements located within the proposed runway (Archangelos and Roussochoria).
The construction of a new road will connect the airport to the highway along Crete’s northern coast, in the Quersoneso neighborhood. When it is over, the distance from Heraklion city to the new airport will be approximately 40 kilometers. Complaints have been made about the lack of a new road linking the new airport to Crete’s southern coast.
This is a very ambitious project with a budget of €1.2 billion in construction costs only that, along with the purchase costs, including loans and other expenses, will reach €1.5 billion.