Flying to Alicante, Spain is done courtesy of the Alicante-Elche Airport, or L’Altet Airport, which is about 9 kilometres from the centre of the city. It is the closest to the city of Alicante, but one of several airports in Spain. It is still the primary airport for the Valencian Community and the Murcia Region. It is 160 kilometres from Valencia, 70 kilometres from Murcia, and 10 kilometres from Elche. On average, it handles nearly 10 million passengers and over 75,000 flights per year. In addition, it transports some 3000 tons of cargo and is among the busiest in all of Europe.
The airport debuted in 1967 as a permanent replacement for La Rabassa, which had provided air service since 1936. By the 1970s business had been booming a while and so a new terminal was constructed. By 1980, even the runway had to be extended to accommodate traffic, now in the millions of travelling passengers. In the 1990s, new business centres were constructed as well as five different air bridges to assist with boarding. A new terminal opened in 2011, now allowing the airport to accommodate up to 20 million passengers per year. This is of particular interest since the previous 1 and 2 terminals have been closed for much of 2014, as a new connecting project is underway.
On your travel, you will see quite the international population with travellers from as far as the United Kingdom, to Ireland and Germany, to the Netherlands and the United States of America.
Alicante Airport connects to a number of other airlines including:
• Aer Lingus (Ireland)
• Air Berlin (Germany)
• Cimber Sterling (Danish)
• EasyJet (Britain)
• Finnair (Finland)
• Germanwings (Germany)
• Iberia (Spain)
• Jet2.com (Britain)
• Monarch (Britain)
• Norwegian (Scandinavia)
• Ryanair (Ireland)
• Thomsonfly / Thomson Airways (Britain)
• Transavia.com (Dutch)
• Vueling (Spain)
As cheap and online based airline services grew since the 2000s, companies like EasyJet have overtaken traditional airline companies like Iberia. However, Ryanair is still the leading carrier as of 2011, with 62 routes and serving over three million passengers. It is to note, however, that Ryanair recently cut many of its routes after a conflict with AENA (Spanish Airports and Air Navigation) on the usage of air bridges at the newly constructed terminal, since previously cheaply made tarmacs were used for unloading.
The newest terminal is much larger than the previous ones, measuring in 333,500 m2, which is over six times as large as the combined size of former terminals 1 and 2. This area includes 96 check-in desks, 40 gates and 15 air bridges. The terminal is also split between C gates and B gates, near the dock. When travelling to the Schengen Area (made up of 26 European countries with common borders) both gates are used, whereas non-Schengen travels only use the B gate and dock area.
In the near future, Terminal 1 has been scheduled to be reopened and connected with the New Terminal by hallway. Terminal 2 will also reopen but with a different purpose: it will provide private flights, ambulances by air and charter planes.
Once you arrive to the airport, you will take the Bus n° C-6, which connects the airport with Alicante. It rides every 20 minutes from Level 2 of the New Terminal to and from the airport.
Some travellers are confused at Level +2 and Level -2. Level -2 is only used by charter buses. The bus stops at the Alicante bus station, which puts you in central locations like Plaza Puerta del Mar, the Archaeological Museum, Central Market, Plaza Luceros, and other attractions. Rides cost €2.75 one-way. However, 10-journey cards provide a discount for 14 €.
Be sure to differentiate between the airport bus 10-journey card and the typical bus/tram journey, which is not the same card. The card can also be used to transport a small group of friends.
Taking a taxi to Alicante costs a higher rate of €20-25. They are available at the arrival level, Level 0, of the New Terminal. Car rentals are also on the same level, and they are even more expensive when charged by the day. You can choose from Avis, Budget, Europcar and Hertz.