Barcelona El Prat International Airport is Spain’s second largest airport, behind Madrid-Bajaras. With over thirty million passengers a year, it is the ninth busiest airport in Europe and the world’s thirty-first busiest airport. It is one of southern Europe’s biggest hubs.
Most of the flights serviced by Barcelona Airport are domestic, European, and North African. However, there are a number of flights to Latin America, North America, and Asia.
Barcelona Airport has two terminals: T1 and T2. Terminal 1 is very modern as it was finished in 2009. It has a special section devoted entirely to the Barcelona-Madrid Air Shuttle. It is the bigger of the two terminals.
To check in, travelers must first go to the terminal out of which their plane is taking off, and there they can find the check-in desk for their respective airline.
A taste of Barcelona’s art can be contemplated before even entering the city: a wall on the outside of Terminal 2 is covered with artwork by the city’s famous artist Joan Miró.
Barcelona airport is conveniently located just fourteen kilometers away from the city of Barcelona. It is thus serviced by public transportation. Bus lines connect to central Barcelona, as well as other locations in Catalonia and Andorra. The train too connects to Barcelona and other nearby towns.
Taxis are available at the arrival section of both terminals.
The airport also accomodates several parking lots, resulting in 20’000 parking spaces. Car parks are located outside both terminals; Terminal 1 parking lot has over 10,000 spaces and Terminal 2 has around 9000. A long-stay car park with nearly one thousand parking spaces is also open for travelers who wish to leave their car there for an extended period – as it is a little further from the airport, a shuttle is provided to connect this long-stay car park with both terminals.
Barcelona Airport History
Barcelona Airport has an interesting history. It opened in 1918, but it wasn’t until nine years later in 1927 that it serviced its first commercial line: Barcelona-Madrid. In 1948 it saw its first overseas service – this time connecting to New York City. In 1970, the Air Shuttle between Barcelona and Madrid was inaugurated. Several years later, a whole terminal was built to service nothing other than this increasingly popular shuttle. Nearly one thousand flights a week were taken on this route in 2007, which made it the world’s busiest at the time.
The importance of the airport to the Catalan economy cannot be overstated. This is why the airport is always looking towards the future and seeking modernization: it is constantly being invested in and worked on so as to improve and expand it. For instance, planning is now in place for the building of a third terminal.
Numerous prizes for excellence have rewarded the time, energy, and money that have been put into the airport. The modern Terminal 1, in particular, has been the recipient of awards. It received its most distinguished prize in 2010 for Best European Airport with more than 25 million passengers.
Airlines Serving Barcelona Airport
Vueling Airlines claims the title of the busiest airline at Barcelona El Prat International Airport. The low cost Spanish airline company has a schedule that includes flights to more than 50 destinations throughout the world. Of course, Vueling Airlines connects Spain’s second largest city with other major European cities in France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, the Scandinavian region, United Kingdom and other parts of the continent. Naturally, Vueling Airlines offers domestic flights to Alicante, Bilbao, Seville, Madrid, and Malaga. Additionally, the Spanish Canary Islands are also accessible via this major low cost carrier. Other major non-European destinations on the schedule of Vueling Airlines include Russia, Israel, Morocco, and Gambia. Vueling Airlines uses Terminal 1 at Barcelona El Prat International Airport.
Being one of the busiest airports in Spain, Barcelona El Prat International Airport is well served by the country’s flag carrier. Iberia offers flights to Madrid Barajas Airport, the busiest airport in Spain. Additional service is provided by Iberia Regional flights to historic Spanish destinations such as Almeria, Burgos, Salamanca, Leon, and Volladoid. Iberia uses Terminal 1 at Barcelona’s main airport.
Ryanair proudly takes the second spot when it comes to being the busiest airline at Barcelona El Prat International Airport. The popular Irish low cost airline links Barcelona with important U.K. destinations including Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, and Nottingham. Ireland’s capital city Dublin is also on the schedule of the busy Irish airline. Ryanair’s coverage is diverse and includes Scandinavia, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean region. The Irish airline also offers flights to several Spanish destinations including Bilbao, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, and the Canary Islands. All Ryanair operations take place in Terminal 2.
Barcelona El Prat International Airport is connected directly to North America thanks to service by a few major U.S. airline companies. Miami International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport can be reached using American Airlines service. New York City and Atlanta are accessible through the Delta Air Lines fleet. Offering trips to Newark Liberty International Airport, United Airlines provides a direct route into the New York City metropolitan area. Montreal and Toronto are accessible on a seasonal schedule operated by Air Canada.
Major Middle Eastern airlines serving Barcelona El Prat International Airport include Emirates, El Al, Pakistan International Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Royal Jordanian. Major Russian destinations can be reached from Barcelona using the Aeroflot, Tatarstan Airlines, VIM Airlines, and Vladivostok Air.