Although, following the commencement of aeronautical activities in Almeria in 1911, the capital city's Town Hall began construction on a municipal aerodrome in the late 1920s, which was inaugurated in 1932, it was not until 1947 that the first initiative was undertaken to provide Almeria with an airport that would break the city's secular isolation. This was backed by the general implementation of airlines and the need and importance that the construction of an airport would have for exporting agricultural produce. Almeria Town Hall took up this challenge and promoted the creation of the Almeria Airport Combined Technical Board in 1951, which, apart from the participation of the local administration, included that of the Air Ministry.

After rejecting a number of projects, it was finally decided to locate it at a place known as Los Albardiales. The definitive impulse for the airport came with its inclusion in the 1964-1967 General Plan for Airports and Air Routes. The airport project included the construction of a runway and an aircraft parking apron. In the beginning, it was equipped with a provisional passenger terminal which was to be replaced with a permanent one in a new construction plan after 1968.

On 6 February 1968, the new airport was opened in the location currently known as El Alquian. It was opened to domestic and international passenger and cargo traffic, operating during daylight hours, and at night upon request. The runway was given the designation of 08-26 and it had two exit taxiways, one partial taxiway parallel to the runway, aircraft parking and a terminal. At first, all airport traffic was served together; later, a modification to the distribution of the terminal made it possible to separate domestic passengers from international ones.

Air traffic began with an Almeria-Madrid line, operated by F-27 aircraft with a frequency of two or three flights a week. In April, this flight became daily, with DC-9 and Caravelle aircraft. In November, a daily flight was established with Murcia and Barcelona, using a Convair 440. Later, other routes were established with Alicante and Barcelona.

As regards international traffic, the first route began in July 1970, with the Almeria-Valencia-Paris flight, which operated on Sundays. The route to Barcelona was extended, in the summer, to Germany and, in the winter, to England. In 1974, British Airways began operating the Almeria-London route. That same summer, charter operations began, which have increased little by little. The most common airlines for this type of traffic are the German LTU and Hapag Lloyd and the English Britannia. A scheduled flight to Melilla was established in November.

The passenger terminal was remodelled in 1995, and the new cargo terminal opened in 2002.