The requirement to fly over Lanzarote on the route from Seville to the Canary Islands motivated the construction in 1936 of an ancillary airfield in Llanos de Guacimeta; this was the first step towards the creation of an aerodrome on the island.
In the mid 1940s, the Air Force approved the construction of an aerodrome on Lanzarote, as part of a defence plan for the Canary Islands. The aerodrome was located five kilometres west of Arrecife, on the Guacimeta coast, within the municipality of San Bartolomé.
In 1946, Lanzarote airport was provisionally opened to civil traffic, with part of the building that housed the military annexes being used for the purpose. A year later, it was officially opened to domestic air traffic.
During the 50s repair and alteration work was carried out to the runway, an apron was built to park aircraft, and measures were taken to give the airport a paved runway.
In 1965, the construction of a firm runway was assigned to the Cabildo Insular (local government) of Lanzarote. Provisional lighting was installed on the new runway, thereby enabling the airport to be opened to night traffic on request.
In 1969, construction work was carried out on a new passenger terminal building, an aircraft parking area, a connecting strip, the extension of the runway, a transmission centre, a power plant, a technical block and general planning. After the work, the airport remained classified as second category and, finally, on 3 March 1970, it was opened to civil national and international passenger air traffic.
First category airport
The constant increase in passenger traffic led to a further extension and improvement of the airport. The works included the installation of a DME associated with the VOR, a VASIS at the departure points 04/22, new runway lighting to substitute the temporary lighting, the extension of the aircraft apron, rapid exit path, and the extension of the passenger terminal. The new facilities meant the airport moved up to the category one, for the purposes of the airport laws.
In 1988, additional extension and alteration work was carried out to the airport to cover the existing demand. Moreover, to increase operating capacity, a taxiway was constructed, parallel to the runway, and the apron was extended.
In 1999, the new passenger terminal was officially opened with a capacity to meet the demand from over seven million passengers per year. The facilities are rounded off with new accesses, parking for vehicles and a control tower.