Barcelona International Airport known as El Prat serves Barcelona, Spain. It is located 10 km away at the town of El Prat de Llobregat.
Barcelona El Prat Airport is Spain’s second largest airport after Madrid Barajas International Airport. Barcelona El Prat Airport is the largest airport on the country’s Mediterranean coast, and it is a hub for Spanair as well as low cost carrier: Vueling Airlines and it is a focus city for Air Europa, Air Madrid and Iberia Airlines.
El Prat is the main airport for the city of Barcelona. Its domestic flights are mostly operated by Iberia and Spanair. Barcelona El Prat Airport also serves many European destinations.
Currently Barcelona El Prat Airport is undergoing a huge expansion , with the construction of a new south terminal, between terminals , expected to enter into operation in 2008.
During 2005, 27,131,445 passengers used El Prat Barcelona airport and it is due to exceed 30 million passengers in 2006.
In 2005 4,571,073 passengers were transferred between Barcelona El Prat and Madrid Barajas, making Barcelona-Madrid the busiest airport pair in Europe. This route is called “Puente Aero” (Air Bridge).
Barcelona’s first airfield was located at el Remolar , and began operations in 1916,however, it did not have good expansion prospects, and the new airport at el Prat was opened in 1918. The first flight was a Latecoere Salmson 300 which arrived from Toulouse. The airport was used as a base for the Spanish Navy’s Zeppelin fleet. Scheduled commercial service began in 1927 with Iberia’s service to Madrid.
In 1948, the first overseas service was operated by Pan American World Airways to New York, using a Lockheed Constellation. A new control tower was built in 1965, a new terminal was built in 1968.(It is presently the older wing of Terminal B.)
The airport underwent a major development in preparation for the 1992 Summer Olympics with the construction of a new terminal.
Since then, significant increases in passenger numbers have necessitated the need for further expansion including a new terminal building and control tower. An additional runway has been built. Once these developments are complete, the airport will be capable of handling between 40 million and 55 million passengers annually (compare to 27.1 million passengers in 2005). The airport is slated to expand in area from 8.45 to 15.33 km² by 2007.