Chania to Heraklion Airport
Transfer to Heraklion Airport “Nikos Kazantzakis” (IATA: HER, ICAO: LGIR). Heraklion International Airport is the primary airport on the island of Crete, Greece, and the country’s second busiest airport after Athens International Airport. It is located about 5 km east of the main city centre of Heraklion, near the municipality of Nea Alikarnassos. It is a shared civil/military facility. The airport is named after Heraklion native Nikos Kazantzakis, a Greek writer and philosopher. Nikos Kazantzakis Airport is Crete’s main and busiest airport, serving Heraklion (Ηράκλειο), Agios Nikolaos (Άγιος Νικόλαος), Malia (Mάλλια), Hersonissos (Χερσόνησος), Stalida (Σταλίδα), Elounda (Ελούντα) and other resorts.
The airport first opened in March 1939. This was then merely a piece of flat agricultural land. The first aeroplane (a Junkers Ju 52) carried the first passengers to the site. During the Second World War operations ceased, but in the fall of 1946 traffic resumed, introducing the DC-3 aircraft.
At first, the airport only offered very basic service, with only primitive installations on the site, in the form of three tents, smoke for wind determination and storm lamps for runway lighting.
In 1947, the first (small) terminal was erected. Hellenic Airlines started commercial flights in 1948. At that time, a total of 4,000 people were served. The year 1953 saw the construction of a paved runway which was initially 1,850 meters long and oriented as 09/27. The next major event followed in 1954, when a four-engined DC-4 aircraft landed for the first time at the airport. In that year the airport handled approximately 18,000 passengers. From 1957 onward, the new Olympic Airways used the airport, starting services with the DC-6 aircraft. Jojo AIr also flew here but ended service on July 2, 2001.
From 1968 until 1971, the runway was extended to 2,680 meters and a new terminal and other facilities were constructed, essentially making it a new airport. On March 18, 1971, the first charter flight from abroad (British Airways) operated at the airport. The new airport itself was officially inaugurated on May 5, 1972.
The latest airport expansion projects began in October 2017. The projects will be entirely financed by the Duty Free Shops SA, in agreement with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the Hellenic Ministry of Waters, without any cost to the Greek government, include:
- the redesign of the layout of the ground and the first floors of the airport
- the expansion of the terminal by 2,900 m2), an extension of 17 meters to the airside
- the renovation of a further 8,000 m2) within the existing terminal
- the increase in the number of gates for arrivals and departures of passengers
- integration of the arrival hall
- the modification of a luggage belt, so that passengers are not required to queues for their receipt
- improve the operation of electronic ticketing
- upgrading the video ad system
- the modernization of air conditioning in the arrivals hall (budget 700.000 Euros)
The latest extension began on October 2017 and was completed on 30 March 2018, in time for the airport’s high season.