Palma de Mallorca Airport, with the official IATA code of PMI, and ICAO code of LEPA, is the third largest airport in Spain, handling over 21 million passengers per annum. This airport is also well known as Son Sant Joan, or in Spanish as the Aeropuerto de Palma de Mallorca. It is located approximately 8 km, or 5 miles to the east of Palma, Majorca, and is nearby the village of Can Pastilla. Palma Airport is a major gateway for millions of tourists coming to visit this island in Spain, and is one of the busiest airports in Europe during the summer months. It is a hub for a couple of major airline companies, and due to many upgrades and structural improvements over the recent years, is a modern and well equipped facility ready to handle the expected increase in passengers towards the mid-2000’s.
Palma Mallorca Airport is the main base for airline carriers such as Air Europa and Air Berlin, which is a German carrier. Germany accounts for the largest number of passengers at the airport, as well as Spain and the United Kingdom thereafter. The most important connections from Palma de Mallorca Airport are to Barcelona and Madrid-Barajas, with over a million passengers per year. The destinations of Düsseldorf and Manchester are also very popular. Passenger numbers peaked in the year 2007, with a total of 23,228,879, but have since slightly declined. There was also a decline in passenger numbers after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. However, passenger traffic rose steadily from 2002 to 2007. At the end of the 2010 financial year, Palma de Mallorca Airport recorded 21,117,270 passengers, and 174,631 aircraft movements. It is an airport significant for cargo traffic as well, with just over 17,000 tones handled in 2010.
Air Berlin is the airline carrier with the majority of destinations from the airport, some of which include Alicante, Barcelona, Berlin-Tegel, Bremen, Frankfurt, Malaga, Hanover, Seville, Valencia, Munich and Faro. Air Europa flies to Granada, Madrid, Paris-Orly, Rome-Fiumicino and Bilbao, while Ryanair is another popular low-cost airline carrier, with the destinations of London-Stansted, Hahn and Girona, as well as a number of seasonal flights, to Birmingham, Glasgow-Prestwick, Bergamo-Orio al Serio, Charleroi, Liverpool and Manchester. Other prominent airline carriers at Palma Airport include Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways, Easyjet, Bmibaby, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Vueling and Lufthansa.
Palma Airport dates back to the early 20th century, when seaplanes provided a postal service to the Balearic Islands. In later years, commercial flights were only handled from the San Bonet aerodrome, as the site at Son Sant Joan was used for military aviation. Around the mid-1950’s, the Son Sant Joan aerodrome’s runway was extended, as well as asphalted, in order to facilitate aircraft such as the Sabre F-86 jets. A parallel taxiway and aircraft-parking apron was also built. Although San Bonet was now handling the airline companies of Air France, BEA and Aviaco Airlines with tourist traffic, it was impossible to significantly increase the capacity of the aerodrome, and major commercial activity was planned for Son Sant Joan. In 1960, Son Sant Joan opened for international and domestic air traffic with a provisional passenger terminal and aircraft-parking apron, which was separate to the military apron. Further improvements began immediately, and a new passenger terminal began its construction in 1965, which was named as Terminal A. A second runway was added in 1970, and Terminal B was completed in 1972.
Passenger traffic at Palma de Mallorca Airport rose steadily to over seven million in 1980, and to nearly ten million in 1986. By 1995, passenger traffic was already recorded at over fifteen million. The terminal areas had to once again be re-considered, and a third terminal was opened in 1997, designed by the Majorcan architect Pere Nicolau Bonet. Departures and airline companies’ offices are located on the upper levels, and the arrivals area is found on the ground floor of the new terminal. There is also a large space allocated for vehicle parking in front of the passenger terminal. Palma de Mallorca’s fourth terminal was opened in 2003 in order to manage the boarding of inter-island flights, specifically for passengers on regional or short-distance flights. This terminal comprises of two buildings joined by an air-bridge accessed from the main terminal check-in area. The ground floor is used for boarding operations, while the upper floor is a balcony-observation desk that overlooks the lobby. Some airline offices are also found on the ground floor. In the more recent years, the airport also received a General Aviation building. The combination of all constructions and improvements have enabled Palma Airport to be well equipped to handle passenger numbers which exceed 20 million per annum, and to be a world-class and modern facility.
Palma de Mallorca Airport consists of four modules, or terminals, known as Module A, Module B, Module C and Module D. Module B is the smallest of the terminals, with eight gates, and no airbridges. Module D has 19 gates, of which have 10 airbridges, and all odd numbered gates require a bus transfer. This terminal is mainly used for flights to Europe. Terminals A and C are the largest, and many domestic flights are handled from Terminal A, which has 28 gates and is the only module that has double airbridges. Module C has 33 gates, 9 airbridges and is located in the east. A bus transfer is needed to reach the gates of Module C as well. A part of Module C is currently under renovation and expansion, so that its capacity for flights is increased, as well as to improve ways to reach the pier, as at present it is rather a long walk from security control. There will be another 8 gates with airbridges, but still 33 gates in total when this southern area re-opens in 2011.
There are banking services at the airport, ATMs and currency exchange facilities. There is no business centre, but basic services are provided at the three VIP lounges. Disabled passengers have full access to the facilities, and there is a wide range of shopping opportunities and dining and refreshment options. Some restaurants include Aeropizza, Restaurant Cafétaria Sa Calla and Restaurant Son San Joan.
Passengers can reach Palma de Mallorca Airport from the Palma-Santanyí motorway, or by numerous bus services. Further information is available online, at http://www.aena.es, and information desks are also available within terminal buildings.
Below is a sample of routes flight times and Airlines that fly from Palma Airport.