The start of commercial aviation in Asturias dates back to the year 1952, when the airline Aviaco established a scheduled passenger route with Madrid. In order to do so, the airline used a Bristol 170 plane and set up at the military airdrome of La Morgal (Lugo de Llanera) near Oviedo. In June 1963, for technical reasons, the airdrome closed to commercial traffic which is why the region of Asturias was left without air connections until five years later.

Several sites were studied for the location of the new airport, and finally land near Santiago del Monte, a town in Castrillón, beside the coast and 126 metres high, was chosen.

On 11 June 1968, Asturias airport, the most northerly of the Spanish airports officially opened to air traffic.

The first commercial route linked Asturias with Madrid, and a little while later another route linking Santiago de Compostela with Barcelona came into service and stopped over at Asturias and Bilbao.

From the moment it started operating, Asturias airport dealt with international traffic via a customs office in Avilés.

During this first stage, Asturias airport already had a runway 2,200 metres long and 45 metres wide, as well a 17,000 square metre aircraft parking platform linked to the runway via a perpendicular taxiway.

The passenger terminal building covered 2,600 square metres, and opposite it an apron with a capacity for 150 places.

Expansion and improvements

In 1982, the first big alterations were carried out to the airport. The aircraft parking platform doubled in size and more than two thousand square metres of new areas were constructed. Thus, the airport's passengers and service areas were trebled, by adding 5 check-in desks, 2 boarding gates and 2 arrival gates, a new cafeteria-restaurant and several shops. That year it received 259,000 passengers, 5,092 aircraft and 1,124,211 Kg of cargo.

In 1994, a new modernisation and extension plan for Asturias airport began, resulting in an increase of the area of the passenger and services terminal building to 8,700 square metres. The building was equipped with new air conditioning, more information for the general public was provided, the signalling, security and mechanisation of luggage, the remodelling of the power plant and the implementation of a wastewater purifying plant. A 900-metre long taxiway was built and the apron and car park were extended. New buildings were built for hire vehicles, the car wash service and for fuel. That year, 7,182 aircraft, 486,000 passengers and 482,442 Kg of cargo were recorded.

In the year 2000, the apron was extended from five to seven places, a new access was built to the taxiway and, finally, runway axis lights were installed after it was extended.

In 2003, work was carried out that considerably improved passenger and aircraft service. A new 1.450 m. taxiway with fast runway exit, a new car park with 172 places for Aena employees and franchisees, the start-up of the CAT II/III ILS that allows for the number of reduced visibility movements to be increased and the expansion of the terminal building with the installation of 3 boarding/disembarking corridors are the most important actions carried out.

For further information, you can purchase the work of Rafael de Madariaga and Luis Utrilla, Historia de los aeropuertos de Asturias.