Gibraltar International Airport, previously known as North Front Airport, (IATA: GIB, ICAO: LXGB) is the civilian airport that serves the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. The runway and aerodrome is owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as RAF Gibraltar. Civilian operators BA and EasyJet use the civilian-operated terminal. Spain has prevented any other airlines using the airport as part of the EU Open Skies Programme. At the time of our visit an exciting aspect of a visit was the walk down Winston Churchill Avenue across the runway. Since March 2023 however there is a new Kingsway route through a tunnel underneath the runway for both vehicles and pedestrians.
The airport is located on the isthmus that connects Gibraltar with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, and thus the country of Spain. Whether or not the airport’s territory was ceded by the Treaty of Utrecht is disputed by Spain and the United Kingdom. Spain argues that the Airport is constructed on the neutral ground and therefore has places restrictions on the airports operation. Spain has restricted flights from the airport to other EU airports and has also restricted the flight paths to and from the airport. Planes after taking off need to do a sharp bank south in order not to enter Spanish airspace prior to turning north to head to the UK.
The original terminal at the airport was built in 1959, and refurbished in the late 1990s. A new terminal was constructed at Gibraltar International due to increasing numbers of passengers.Planning permission was announced in 2007, with construction of the new terminal beginning in 2009 and completed in 2011.
Since my visit in November 2022 a major change has occurred. A unique feature of the airport was the fact a main road crossed its runway and needed to be closed when aircraft took off and landed. The Kingsway access road involves a tunnel underneath the runway for both vehicles and pedestrians meaning that the photos below are of a past time and no longer can tourists take photos in the middle of the runway.
As Winston Churchill Avenue crosses the runway, there is a system by which pedestrians and vehicles are stopped by traffic lights and barriers. Once closed the road and adjacent area is cleaned before the plane lands or takes off. It was fun to watch, although as noted above this now is historical as since March 2023 there is a tunnel underneath the runway for vehicles and (a separate one for pedestrians).
Date of Visits: August 1996 and 7 November 2022