Tenerife North Airport

Tenerife North Airport
Aeropuerto de Tenerife Norte
Airport type Public
Operator Aena
Serves Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Location San Cristóbal de La Laguna
Elevation AMSL 633 m / 2,077 ft
Coordinates 28°28′58″N 016°20′30″W / 28.48278°N 16.34167°W / 28.48278; -16.34167Coordinates: 28°28′58″N 016°20′30″W / 28.48278°N 16.34167°W / 28.48278; -16.34167
Website aena-aeropuertos.es
Location of airport in Canary Islands
Direction Length Surface
m ft
12/30 3,394 11,135 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Passengers 4,704,863
Passenger change 16-17 11.5%
Aircraft Movements 61,098
Movements change 16-17 9.8%
Cargo (t) 13,044.8
Source: Statistics from AENA[1]

Tenerife North Airport (IATA: TFN, ICAO: GCXO), formerly Los Rodeos Airport, is one of the two international airports on the island of Tenerife, Spain. It is located in San Cristóbal de La Laguna, 11 km (6.8 mi) by road from Santa Cruz and at an altitude of 633 metres (2,077 ft). It handled 3,717,944 passengers in 2012. Combined with Tenerife-South Airport, the island gathers the highest passenger movement of all the Canary Islands, with 12,248,673 passengers,[1] surpassing Gran Canaria Airport. Today TFN is an inter-island hub connecting all seven of the main Canary Islands with connections to the Iberian Peninsula and Europe.

In 1977, the airport was the site of the worst accident in aviation history when 583 passengers and crew were killed after two Boeing 747s collided on the runway in heavy fog.


Early years

Many years before the airport had even been built, the field at Los Rodeos was hastily prepared to accommodate the first (though unofficial) flight into Tenerife operated by an Arado VI (D-1594) aircraft operating from Berlin on behalf of Deutsche Luft Hansa.

In May 1930, the Compañía de Líneas Aéreas Subvencionadas S.A. (C.L.A.S.S.A.) established the first air link between the Spanish mainland and the Canary Islands using a Ford 4-AT Trimotor (M-CKKA), which took off from Getafe, Madrid to the Los Rodeos field via Casablanca, Cape Juby and Gando in Gran Canaria.

After the final location of the airport had been decided, funds were gathered between 1935 and 1939 to build a small hangar and begin expanding the airstrip which would become Los Rodeos. In July 1936 Francisco Franco did not fly from here after taking over the island to invade the mainland Spain. He flew from Gando (Gran Canaria), in a DH-89 Dragon Rapide chartered to the British company Olley Air Service.

Operations into Los Rodeos recommenced on 23 January 1941 with a De Havilland DH89A Dragon Rapide operating an Iberia flight from Gando in Gran Canaria. By 1946, more hangars, a passenger terminal and an 800 m (2,625 ft) paved runway had been built, and the airport was officially opened to all national and international traffic. The runway was stretched at various times during the 1940s and 1950s, reaching a length of 2,400 m (7,874 ft) in 1953, by which time the airport was also equipped with runway edge lighting and an air-ground radio, enabling night operations.

Development since the 1960s

By 1964, runway 12/30 had been stretched to 3,000 m (9,843 ft) to accommodate the DC-8, new navigation aids were installed, and the apron was expanded to provide more parking spaces for aircraft. In 1971, with the prospect of the Boeing 747 flying into the airport, the runway was reinforced and an ILS (Instrument Landing System) was installed.

In the 1977 Tenerife disaster, a Pan Am Boeing 747 and a KLM Boeing 747 collided on the runway, killing 583 people, the highest number of fatalities (excluding ground fatalities) of any single accident in aviation history. In response, a new airport, Tenerife-South Airport, was inaugurated on 6 November 1978. It is situated at sea level which averts the occurrence of fog, one of the reasons for the crash.

A new terminal was inaugurated in 2002, comprising car park, motorway access ramps, and four-story terminal building, with 12 gates. The airport regained its international status when flights to Caracas began. An inter-island domestic area was opened in 2005.

Airlines and destinations


The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Tenerife North:[3]

Air Europa Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Málaga, Seville
Seasonal: Alicante, Santiago de Compostela
Air Europa Express Gran Canaria, La Palma[4]
Alitalia Seasonal: Rome-Fiumicino
Binter Canarias Dakar–Diass, El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Gomera, La Palma, Lanzarote, Lisbon, Marrakech, Palma de Mallorca
Seasonal: Agadir, Funchal
Bulgaria Air Seasonal charter: Sofia
CanaryFly El Hierro, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Lanzarote
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
Iberia Express Asturias, Madrid
Seasonal: Vigo
Iberia Regional Seasonal: Pamplona, Santiago de Compostela, Valencia
Norwegian Air Shuttle Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante
Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas Seasonal: Caracas
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca
Ryanair Barcelona, Madrid
Vueling Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Málaga, Paris-Orly, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Zaragoza


Swiftair Madrid


Tenerife North Airport Passenger Totals 2000-2017 (millions)
PassengersAircraft movementsCargo (tonnes)
2000 2,411,10048,90222,462
2001 2,511,27749,13221,060
2002 2,486,22748,78521,148
2003 2,919,08753,71823,842
2004 3,368,98856,59223,647
2005 3,754,51360,23522,163
2006 4,025,60165,29723,193
2007 4,125,13165,84325,169
2008 4,236,61567,80020,781
2009 4,054,14762,77618,304
2010 4,051,15561,60715,918
2011 4,095,10362,59015,745
2012 3,717,94455,78914,778
2013 3,524,47049,28913,493
2014 3,633,03052,69413,991
2015 3,815,31553,25912,819
2016 4,219,63355,66912,426
2017 4,704,86361,09813,044
Source: AENA[5]

Accidents and incidents

Tenerife airport disaster

Tenerife North Airport was the scene of the Tenerife airport disaster, the deadliest accident in aviation history to date. The accident took place on 27 March 1977, while during take-off, KLM Flight 4805, a Boeing 747-206B, collided with Pan Am Flight 1736, a Boeing 747-121, taxiing along the runway. Amongst the passengers and crew on board the two aircraft, all 248 passengers and crew on the KLM flight were killed, along with 335 passengers and crew on the Pan Am flight, but 61 passengers and crew on the Pan Am flight survived. The total death toll was 583 people. Neither flight was originally scheduled to be at the airport; both were scheduled to land at Gran Canaria Airport, but had been diverted to Tenerife North (then Tenerife Los Rodeos) as a result of a bombing at Gran Canaria.

Other incidents

Date Airline Aircraft type Registration Flight number People on board Fatalities
1956-09-29 Aviaco SNCASE Languedoc EC-AKV 38 0+1
1965-05-05 Iberia Lockheed L-1049G EC-AIN 401 49 30
1965-12-07 Spantax Douglas DC-3 EC-ARZ 32 32
1970-01-05 Iberia Fokker F-27 Friendship 600 EC-BOD 49 0
1972-12-03 Spantax Convair CV-990 EC-BZR 275 155 155
1978-02-15 Sabena Boeing 707-329 OO-SJE 196 0
1980-04-25 Dan-Air Boeing 727-46 G-BDAN 1008 146 146


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