My December 2020 trip to Gran Canaria / Grand Canary has been the first longer distance trip since quite a while, due to the Covid-19 limitations. The island has been a new experience to me – and apart from original location hunting of the German Zärtliche Chaoten 2 movie, I was of course looking forward to explore a new airport as well. Here are my thoughts about Las Palmas Airport (LPA), which is also called Gran Canaria Airport or Aeropuerto de Gran FaoreCanaria in Spanish. The airport used to operate as Gando Airport as well – this is rather pointing on the military part of the airport, though.
Las Palmas Airport (LPA) – Location and Transport
The airport is located in the towns of Telde and Ingenio at the East Coast of the island. It has two parallel runways in 03/21 direction, i.e. Northwest/Southeast. The typical destinations on the island are either the capital Las Palmas or the Southern parts like Maspalomas.
Transport is typicall guaranteed by buses, which connect the airport with all important cities of the island. Tourists are very often also brought to their hotels by charter buses. The main alternative is taxi. I rented a car for my time on the island at Autoreisen Rent A Car. The most fancy connection is the Tren de Gran Canaria rail connection, which is under discussion since the early 2000’s, based on a historic steam train connection. The train connection between the capital and Maspalomas would be extremely difficult and thus expansive. Thus, the inception of construction is currently blocked by funding issues.
Las Palmas Airport (LPA) – Destinations
During my visit in December 2020, the list of destinations was rather limited and did not reflect the typical volume on Gran Canaria. Roughly, there are two kinds of air connections: the majority is a vast variety of airlines connecting to Las Palmas majorly for touristic and leisure reasons. Practically, all major European markets are connected to the island, but there are also rather exotic connections like Atlantic Airways to Vagar / Faroe Islands (FAE). There are no Transatlantic flights.
The second set of flights are inter-island connections. Binter Canarias is like the most important carrier, they also connect the Canaries to mainland Spain and start to offer flights to Gran Canaria for touristic reasons like connections to Marseille or Venice (VCE). The second major Canary Island carrier is CanaryFly, who have a significantly smaller network. Azores Airlines (formerly SATA) also connect to Funchal on Madeira and Ponta Delgada (PDL). Binter and Royal Air Maroc connect Gran Canaria with North African destinations.
Arriving at Las Palmas Airport (LPA)
The arrival procedures as Las Palmas Airport were really smooth. The walk from the plane to the luggage belts was a bit of lengthy, but this just reflects the size of the airport and its capacity for touristic reasons. The Covid-19 procedure management was really efficient and the staff was very friendly. Amazing to see how many capacities the airport in fact has. As the Canary Islands come with special tax exceptions, there is also a duty free shop on arrival at the luggage area. Typically, the rental car offices are also having service desks towards the luggage areas – this part has however been used for the Covid-19 management.
Departing from Las Palmas Airport (LPA)
I loved to compare the departure level with the impressions you got at the Zärtliche Chaoten II movie recorded in the 1980’s. The general structure of the airport is similar – there has, however, been significant refurbishment and renovation. The check-in area was efficient. Security controls impressed me with a large capacity – after that and after that, you first face a massive duty-free area. The pricing, however, was not as good as I expected. You can get most of the goods for a better price in retail shops on the island.
What I really liked about the airport is the clear signposting, partially also on the ground as you see on the pictures. Everything is well-structured and you get along nicely. Of course, a couple of stores were closed due to the travel situation, but there was sufficient service for the travelers. There are also some places for families / kids, which may however be really crowded in peak times (during Covid-19, these services are of course closed down). The airport could use some more seating and supply with power plugs, but overall, this part has been reasonable. The Spanish Airport Authority AENA also drives an airport lounge – it has been closed during my visit, though.
Las Palmas Airport (LPA) – My View
I felt that Gran Canaria Airport is a nice travel hub. The airport has a comparably modern touch and is definitely nicer than Tenerife North (TFN), which is also less important for tourism. The staff was very friendly and efficient. Regarding it is a Spanish island airport, I feel it is really nice to connect to the island via this travel hub.
Here are all my postings about the Canary Islands.
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