History

The beginnings of Menorca aerodrome were marked by the Spanish Civil War and the need for a military airfield on the island. In the summer of 1936, work began on levelling the airfield. At the end of the conflict in 1939, the usable area of the runway was 850 metres. The first aircraft to land was a Fiat biplane, flown in from Palma de Mallorca.

During the forties, the airfield was used sporadically by a few aeroplanes from the Son San Juan airfield in Mallorca and other aircraft with problems that were obliged to make a forced landing on the San Luis runway. In July 1949, the Ministry of Aviation agreed to open San Luis Airport to civil air traffic, full domestic traffic, international tourist traffic, as well as for international technical stopovers. The inaugural flight, by the company Aviaco flying from Barcelona, took place in August of the same year, establishing the Barcelona-Mahon route and using Bristol 170 aircraft during the first few years.

In 1959 and 1961 the runway was extended twice. The entry into service of Aviaco's DC-4s made further extension works necessary.

In September 1965 the name of the airport was officially changed form San Luis to Mahon Airport.

With the increase in tourist traffic and charter flights, as well as the fact that the new jet aircraft required longer runways, the need to build a new airport for the island was taken into consideration.

The 1963-1967 Airports and Air Routes Master Plan affected Menorca greatly. In this plan it was estimated that the airport facilities at San Luis would be able to deal with the forecast traffic until 1967, but as from 1968 a new airport would need to be built to serve mid-size jet aircraft. As a result of the increase in air traffic and the enormous interest shown by the local authorities, construction began before the planned date with the works for the new airport getting underway in 1967. San Luis was assigned to the Royal Mahon Flying Club, and since then this entity has been responsible for the conservation and maintenance of the facilities of the Pilot and Aeromodelling School.

New airport

On 24 March 1969 the new Menorca Airport was inaugurated in its current location with one runway and a terminal. The opening of the new airport marked the start of a real tourist boom for the island. The number of passengers that passed through the Menorca aerodrome doubled in two years. While in 1968, 112,000 travellers used the old San Luis Aerodrome, in 1970 a total of 239,000 passed through the new facilities.

The rise in tourism in the 70s made it necessary to carry out improvements to the terminal. In 1977 the international traffic area was enlarged, making it possible to absorb the airport traffic, which, between 1970 and 1979, had tripled.

During the eighties air traffic continued to grow and in 1986 the figure reached the million passengers mark. This figure and the growth predictions made building another terminal an urgent necessity. In February 1987, the works began and were completed in a record time of fourteen months. The building entered into service in May 1988. It is divided into two levels: The ground floor, for arrivals and baggage reclaim; and the upper floor, which houses a joint check-in area and two boarding areas, one for domestic flights, which is open all year round, and another for international flights, which only opens in the high season (April to October).

Air traffic continued to increase and in 1994 the airport was dealing with two million passengers. The latest enlargement of the terminal was carried out that same year and mainly affected the international departures area. Additionally, the number of check-in desks were increased and a new technical area was created to house, among other services, the Co-ordination Centre.