Gran Canaria International Airport is an airport located on Gran Canaria, Spain, in the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa. It is the largest airport in the Canary Islands and the only airport in the islands with two runways, allowing it to have up to 53 landings and take-offs per hour.
Gran Canaria International Airport is located to the east of Gran Canaria on the Bay of Gando (Bahía de Gando), about 18 km (11 mi) from the city of Las Palmas and 25 km (15 mi) from the popular tourist areas in the south. Gran Canaria International Airport is a hub for Binter Canarias Airlines.
Gran Canaria International Airport opened on April 7, 1930 after King Alfonso XIII signed a royal order announcing that the military air force installations on the Bay of Gando would become a civilian airfield. In its 76 years of existence, the airport has become the largest gateway into the Canary Islands, as well as the largest in terms of passenger and cargo operations. It is the fifth largest airport in Spain.
On March 27, 1977, Pan Am Flight 1736, and KLM Flight 4805, the aircraft involved in the 1977 Tenerife Disaster were bound for Gran Canaria International Airport. The airport had been closed after a terrorist bomb had struck the island. Both aircraft were asked to divert to Tenerife’s Los Rodeos Airport instead where they refueled and waited for the airport on Gran Canaria to re-open.
Upon re-opening of the Gran Canaria Airport, the two aircraft headed for the runway to continue their journeys. Due to heavy fog, and several misunderstood ATC communications, the KLM Aircraft started down the runway while the Pan Am jet was still taxiing on it. The aircraft collided resulting the deaths of 583 people, the deadliest air disaster in aviation history. All occupants of the KLM aircraft were killed, yet remarkably, 54 passengers and 7 crew members on the Pan Am flight survived, including its captain.
Gran Canaria International Airport is accessible by several island roadways leading from all points in the island, as well as special bus service available fro m m ost towns within Gran Canaria. Taxi service is considered the most efficient way since the island has its own taxi services, and low fares.