1970: With Infrastructure and Terminal Upgrades, This Airport Became an International Hub

March 3, 1970

With the inauguration of a new terminal and other recently completed infrastructure, the airport in the town and municipality of San Bartolomé on Lanzarote – the northernmost and easternmost of the seven Canary Islands – was opened to a significantly higher-than-before number of civilian domestic and international flights. This increase in regular air traffic marked a major milestone for the airport, which has long been popularly known as Lanzarote Airport. (The Canary Islands, an Atlantic archipelago located approximately 62 miles [100 kilometers] west of the African coast, was made a Spanish province in 1821 and would become an autonomous region of Spain in 1982.)

The origins of the airport can be traced to the mid-1940s when the Spanish Air Force approved the construction of a military aerodrome on the Guacimeta coast of Lanzarote as part of an overall defense plan for the Canary Islands. A leading factor for building this facility in San Bartolomé was the fact that this town and municipality is only 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) southwest of Arrecife, the capital of Lanzarote.

Within just a few years after it was opened, this military facility officially began allowing some domestic air traffic. Lanzarote Airport underwent additional changes during the 1950s. These changes included the construction of an apron (an area where aircraft can be parked) and the start of work on a paved runway. In 1965, lighting was first installed on the runway so that the airport could be opened to nighttime flights as needed.

The debut of a new terminal (formally called the Guacimeta terminal) and the expansion of civilian international and domestic air traffic at Lanzarote Airport in 1970 helped further establish this facility as one of the major airports in the Canary Islands. Lanzarote Airport now handles flights to and from a large number of European airports. As of 2018, Lanzarote Airport was serving more than seven million passengers per year.

In 2019, the airport was officially renamed César Manrique-Lanzarote Airport to honor a celebrated local artist and sculptor. The Arrecife-born César Manrique (1919-1992) left a diverse and highly regarded range of creative works throughout Lanzarote. These works include a mural that is aptly entitled “Lanzarote” and prominently displayed in his namesake airport’s Guacimeta terminal.

For more information on the history of César Manrique-Lanzarote Airport, please check out


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