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The location of the island of Fuerteventura on the route from Cabo Juby to Las Palmas and Tenerife became an obligatory stop for all aircraft at the beginning of the 20th century, to link the Peninsula with the Canary Islands. In the 1930s the company Líneas Aéreas Postales Españolas (LAPE) developed a piece of land between the sea and the Tetir road to use as an auxiliary field for its flights.
In 1940, with the aim of serving the Archipelago Defence Plan, work was begun on a military aerodrome in the municipality of Tefía. The airport was opened officially to national and international civil flights in January 1959. The geographical location of the airport, far from Puerto de Cabras, the most important point of the island, and the increase in commercial flights, it became necessary to consider a new location for the island's airport.
The orography of the island made it possible to study moving the airport to a new location closer to the capital. Finally, it was decided to move the facility to land situated at Los Estancos, only five kilometres away from Puerto Rosario. Traffic to the Tefía airport ceased definitively in 1952 and the facility in the new location was opened.
Move to El Matorral
With the rapid growth in demand, and the problems produced by its location -continual gusting winds - another move was necessary, and the airport was moved along the coast to a place called El Matorral.
The airport of El Matorral, located in the municipality of Puerto del Rosario, was opened officially on 14 September 1969. The first plane to touch down on the new runway was an Iberia airlines Focker 27, which flew the route Las Palmas-Fuerteventura-Lanzarote.
In 1973 El Matorral Airport began to operate its first flights to European countries with the airline Condor, which linked the German city of Dusseldorf directly with Puerto del Rosario. In the following years, the airport experienced considerable growth in the number of operations, which resulted in a series of improvements, starting in 1978, to ensure that the working of the aerodrome continued to meet the needs of the passengers.
In 1992, the airport received more than 1,600,000 passengers, which made it necessary to carry out extensive refurbishment of the terminal and aircraft parking areas. In 1994, construction started on a new terminal building, an aircraft apron, a taxiway parallel to the runway, a power plant and a new access road.
The works were completed with the extension of the car park and a detour on the Puerto de Rosario-Matorral, road adding some two kilometres, of which 1.5 are double lane.
With the new facilities it was possible to attend around five million passengers a year and manage around 3,100 passengers per hour during rush-hour periods.