The origins of the current Zaragoza Airport date from the old aerodromes of Sanjurjo and Valenzuela, built in the midst of the civil war beside the town of Garrapinillos. In 1940, both aerodromes were given a dual function as military air station and civil aerodrome.
The Sanjurjo Airport was opened to civil traffic in 1947. At the end of that year, construction began on a terminal, which was inaugurated in October 1950. The airfield is formed by a 1,800 x 1,000 metres rectangle of natural terrain and has a radio beacon, windsock and illuminated wind «T», night-time runway lighting and field limit lights.
In July 1948 the Valenzuela aerodrome was opened to international traffic and customs, with field limit lights and landing centre line. The following year, work began on expanding the runway.
Commercial traffic returned to Zaragoza in June 1951 when the company Aviaco inaugurated the Madrid-Zaragoza and Bilbao-Zaragoza-Barcelona routes.
In 1953 an agreement between Spain and the USA was signed, which included the construction and joint use of some military air stations and facilities, choosing the Valenzuela air station among others. Work to adapt the facilities began immediately: a parallel runway of 3,718 metres was built, seven hundred metres from the already existing 2,600-metre centre lines, as well as taxiways, aircraft parking and buildings. The Valenzuela air station facilities were moved to the north of the runway, the antiaircraft guns being positioned to the south.
Sanjurjo Airport was classified as military base open to civil traffic and customs airport open to international traffic in 1961, after which it became, four years later, officially called Zaragoza Airport. Royal Decree 1167/1995 of 7 July, finally classified it as joint use, air station-airport aerodrome.
The airport is currently used as a freight distribution centre, which has meant it has been necessary to expand the area allocated to freight. Likewise, in order to modernise and adapt the airport to the 2008 International Exhibition, held in the regional capital, Aena has opened a new passenger terminal, with futuristic design in the form of waves and skylights that create great luminosity in the passenger area.
For further information, you can purchase the work of Luis Utrilla, Historia de los aeropuertos de Zaragoza.
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