Heraklion Airport History

Many centuries have passed since the days of Ikarus, the winged flyer, when in 1937 at a distance of 10km east of the Knossos palace the myth materializes in that the construction of Heraklion airport is complete as the first small planes begin to land. The site was flat agricultural land, when in the summer of 1939 the first aeroplane a Junkers-52, capacity 14 persons carried its first passengers.

In the autumn of 1946 after the end of World War II air traffic is resumed with the introduction of the DC-3 type of aircraft.

The airport initially offered primitive installations to service the planes and passengers. There were 3 tents- one used by the administration , the second used by the airline companies and third housed the passenger hall. Storm lamps were used for lighting the runway. For the determination of wind direction required by the landing craft, smoke was used.This came from burning dry grass. In 1947 a small building was constructed, housing the service activities and the passenger hall. In 1948 “Hellas” inaugurated its flights. A total of 4.000 passengers were served. In 1953

Runway 09-27 with an initial length of 1850m was constructed. In 1954 for the first time a DC-4 (four engined) landed, with a capacity of 64 passengers belonging to the TAE airline company. This type of aircraft contributed to a turnover of 18.000 passengers served in that year. After 1957 the new “Olympic Airways”company used the DC-6 aircraft type, capacity 95 passengers resulting in the continued increase of turnover between Heraklion-Athens.

Todays Heraklion airport operates from new buildings since 1971 but the story does not end here.

Statistics of the runway- take offs and landings:

1939 First passenger landing at the runway 13-31

1941 Cut off of civil aviation operations

1946 Resumption of passenger flights

1953 Completion of new runway, initial length 1.850m

1968-1971 Extension of runway from1.850m to 2.680m

1971 First charter flight from abroad (British Airways 18-03-71)

2001-2003 Construction of part of parallel (service) road

History of installations:

1947 First passenger air terminal

1968 Start of construction of new airport

1972 Completion of new airport and inauguration-7.370m2 (21/5/72)

1973-75 Construction of airplane hangers and service roads

1988 Inauguration of new Foreign Departure and Arrival lounges- 900m2

1992 Completion of new Foreign Arrivals lounge

1994 Operation of new Foreign Departures lounge 2.000m2

1996 Completion of airport extension by 11.700m2

1997 Operation of new Foreign Departures lounge 5000m2

2005 Completion of airport extension by 18.985m2


Installation of Aviation club, Firestation, Police, Radar terminal PSR/MSSR(Patroclos system) and airforce.

Heraklion Airport

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