Toulouse Blagnac International Airport
Toulouse Blagnac International Airport is located four miles northwest of Toulouse in France. It is the sixth busiest airport in France.
History of Toulouse Blagnac Airport
The airport was first constructed in 1912 as a joint military and civilian airfield. The area of France where the airfield was located became a major hub of aviation and experimentation in international flight. It was the location of the first French airmail deliveries and saw the development of commercial cargo flights to areas as far away as South America. The first concrete runways and taxiways were built in 1938 as the military, new aviation manufacturers and other businesses converged on the airfield. The airfield became a launching point for British planes during World War II.
Toulouse Blagnac International Airport returned to civilian control in the late 1940s. One runway was extended to meet the needs of modern commercial aircraft. Some taxiways were expanded so that planes from nearby manufacturing plants could be moved directly to the runways. More expansion occurred throughout the 1960s including the lengthening of runways as well as the construction of a radar tower and meteorological center. The airport became a popular international destination and served as a testing ground for new aircraft. The airport saw 1 million passengers in 1977. This number increased to 3 million by 1990 when the next wave of renovations and expansions started.
Toulouse Blagnac International Airport has two runways for passenger flights. The first is 11,400 feet long and 148 feet wide. The second is 9,800 feet long and 246 feet wide. The longer runway contains 688 landing lights while the shorter runway has only 289 lights. Both runways are equipped with category three instrument landing systems, precision approach path indicators, and high intensity lights. There are 65 spots for aircraft parking outside of the runways and taxiways. Two special stands are available for priority freight carriers.
The main terminal at Toulouse Blagnac International Airport is divided into four distinct areas known as halls. Each hall is designated by a letter from A to D. Over 1 million square feet of floor space is available between all four halls. Hall A was opened in 2004. It provides fast service for short regional flights with a high turnover. Hall B was opened in 1978. It is the oldest area in the airport. Hall B handles mainly flights inside of France and flights to Schengen Agreement countries. Hall C is used largely by budget airlines. Hall D was opened in 2010. Hall D contains modern architecture and facilities. It is primarily used for international travel and is the largest hall in the airport.
The airport halls contain a total of 34 boarding gates for passengers and 18 telescopic gangways for access. There are also 68 check-in counters, 7 baggage conveyors, and 16 security checkpoints between all of the halls. The airport has a 219,000 square foot area dedicated to freight, storage, and some office space. The facility even includes temperature controlled storage rooms and refrigerated lockers. There are several parking areas outside of the halls. Over 13,000 parking spaces are available in different areas. Some of these are located in a newly constructed covered garage that is regularly patrolled by airport security.
More than 6.9 million passengers passed through Toulouse Blagnac International Airport in 2011. The number of passengers has been growing slowly although the airport has managed to keep up with demand. The airport saw 96,800 aircraft arrivals and departures in 2011 as well. Some of these aircraft were cargo flights that carried a combined total of 96,000 tons of freight and mail into the facility. The airport continues to be a testing ground for new aircraft despite the volume of traffic on a daily basis.