Located off the east coast of mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands are a popular region among European holidaymakers from across the continent. The archipelago consists of four main islands (and several smaller landmasses), three of which are served by international commercial airports. Let’s take a look at them all.
Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands and therefore has the largest airport in the archipelago. Indeed, with almost 30 million passengers passing through its doors each year before the arrival of COVID-19, Palma de Mallorca (PMI) has always been the third busiest airport in Spain. It is also known as Son Sant Joan.
The facility has two runways, the second having opened in 1974. Both are over 3,000 meters long, allowing the airport to accommodate the large aircraft that sometimes fly into Mallorca to meet the seasonal demand. That being said, PMI also has a strong core of year-round routes, serving both domestic and European destinations. Swiftair also operates domestic cargo flights at PMI.
Interestingly, Palma de Mallorca’s current airport is not the only one to have served the island over the years. Indeed, commercial flights at the smaller Son Bonet airfield date back to 1927. However, this facility had limited potential for expansion, and so commercial traffic ceased in 1959. Nevertheless, it still handles the movements of the general aviation on its 1,323 meter long runway. today.
Just to the east of Mallorca is Menorca, whose air passengers use Mahón Menorca Airport (MAH) in the east of the island. Having handled nearly 3.5 million passengers in 2019, it ranked 15th among Spain’s busiest airports in the last full year of pre-coronavirus operations. This figure fell to 1 million in 2020.
The airport, which has a 2,550 meter long runway, relies heavily on seasonal traffic, with most of its flights coming in the summer months from European carriers. Most of its year-round traffic is domestic, although London Gatwick (LGW) sees year-round flights from easyJet and Vueling.
Just like its neighboring island, Menorca has also historically been served by a second airport. Its first civilian airfield was San Luis Airfield, which opened as an all-commercial facility in 1949. However, as traffic grew, so did the need for a larger airport. This resulted in the construction of the Mahón facility, to which all commercial flights on the island were transferred in March 1969.
Ibiza is located in the southwest of the Balearic archipelago, its eponymous airport (IBZ) being located in the south of the island. First emerging as a temporary military base during the Spanish Civil War, it enjoyed a brief period of commercial operations after World War II before closing in 1951. However, it reopened on a domestic basis after improvement works in 1958.
In the years that followed, traffic increased alongside Ibiza’s growing popularity as a summer holiday destination. It was the ninth busiest airport in Spain in 2019, with over eight million passengers. Its 2,800-meter-long runway generally serves seasonal flights, although international destinations such as Düsseldorf and London City, among others, see year-round traffic.
What do you think of the different airports in the Balearic Islands? Where or from where did you fly? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!
Sources: AENA, iExplore, Palma de Mallorca Airport, World Travel Guide