Alicante-Elche Airport also popularly known as El Altet Airport, is a Spanish Aena airport located 8 km southwest of Alicante. It is located in the municipality of Elche, 10 km east of the city centre, between the districts of El Altet and Torrellano. Due to its location, this airport serves a large part of eastern Spain. Traditionally, it has had an important charter traffic, although nowadays most of the traffic is regular and international.
It ranks fifth in the Spanish airport network according to the number of passengers, after the airports of Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Malaga-Costa del Sol, and is among the 50 busiest in Europe. Following the statistical results for the month of December 2010, it occupies the 40th position in the European airport network according to number of passengers. It is also the airport with the highest passenger traffic in the Valencia Region.4
Important events have taken place over the last decade, including the start-up of Terminal 2 in January 2007 and the opening of a Ryanair airline base in November 2007. This terminal increased the airport's capacity by 20% and provided a provisional area for passenger handling until the opening of the New Terminal Area, inaugurated on 23 March 2011. Its commissioning signifies the largest expansion in the airport's history, doubling the capacity existing until then. After its opening, the old terminals (T-1 and T-2) are out of service for passenger traffic.
Alicante-Elche airport, commonly known as El Altet airport, mainly handles tourist traffic. The percentage of passengers on international flights is eighty percent of the total. The United Kingdom, Germany, Holland and Norway are the countries that bring in the most passengers.
Domestic scheduled traffic has also been increasing in recent years. Madrid (airlift), Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona are the three most popular destinations. In 2018, Alicante-Elche airport recorded traffic of 13,981,320 passengers, 96,734 operations and 4,013 tonnes of cargo.5
Located between the urban centres of Torrellano and El Altet, within the municipality of Elche, it is 8 km southwest of the city of Alicante and 10 km east of the urban centre of the city of Elche, although it does not have a train stop.
Alicante airport is located in the centre of a large tourist area stretching from Denia to Mazarrón (420 km of coastline), where there are numerous towns with dynamic industrial activity and technified agriculture.
Its area of influence mainly affects the provinces of Alicante and Murcia and includes important cities and tourist areas such as Alicante, Benidorm, Altea, Calpe, Jávea, Denia, Santa Pola, Guardamar del Segura, Torrevieja, Orihuela, Murcia, Cartagena, La Manga del Mar Menor and other industrial cities such as Elche, Crevillente, Novelda, Elda-Petrel, Villena, Ibi, Alcoy among others.
It is a highly populated area (1,917,012 inhabitants in the province of Alicante and 1,446,520 in the Region of Murcia, according to INE 2009 data) with a high population density (329.6 inhabitants/km² in the province of Alicante and 127.8 inhabitants/km² in the Region of Murcia). The population of both provinces has a high percentage of foreign residents, with Alicante being the province with the highest percentage of all Spanish provinces.