SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Dec. 9 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The El Hierro Airport, located in the municipality of Valverde, celebrates its 50th anniversary this month of December, so it will carry out a series of activities soon, among which the institutional act with the presence of island authorities, the Director of Grupo Canarias Airports, Luis López Chapí, and the director of the Herreño Airport, Óscar González, as well as a delivery of commemorative details to passengers and a sporting event in which airport workers will participate.
At the end of the sixties it became necessary to build an aerodrome that would allow the establishment of air connections and not only the maritime ones, the only ones existing to date. Specifically, on December 12, 1972, a DC-3 military plane landed for the first time at the El Hierro airport, although a few days before, a Dornier Do-27 plane from the Air Force had also landed on the island.
Previously, on December 12, 1955, the first aeronautical event took place on the island, when a helicopter carried out an evacuation operation, which was also the first rescue operation carried out by the Air Search and Rescue Service (SAR) in the Canary Islands. .
The first commercial flight that this airport received took place on December 19, 1972, although the official inauguration took place on the 11th of that same month, with the assistance of the entire El Hierro society.
The first flight was operated by the Iberia company: a 44-seater Fokker F-27 aircraft, crewed by commanders Vicente Ramos Hernández and Álvaro González Tarife, which made the route from Tenerife Norte-Ciudad de La Laguna Airport. The initial service began with three weekly frequencies (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) at a cost of 500 pesetas, but due to its success it increased to four the following year.
With the construction and commissioning of this airport, an extraordinary historical milestone was marked in the history of the island.
Today the airport on the westernmost island of the Canary Islands is certified according to European regulations for safe and efficient operation, and has a renovated commercial space, a children’s playground, a barrier-free assistance service for People with Reduced Mobility (PRM ), free Wi-Fi and a charging area for electronic devices, among other amenities. In addition, improvement actions such as selective waste collection are continuously carried out.
The challenge is to continue advancing so that the quality of attention to the traveler and to the airline companies continues to be the hallmark of an airport that is part of the daily life of the people of El Hierro.
INTERNATIONAL AWARDS AND GOOD MANAGEMENT
The quality of the infrastructures and the good management of El Hierro Airport have earned it several international awards such as double recognition as the Best European Airport in the category of less than two million passengers (2019 and 2021) or the award for the ‘Better hygiene measures’ in Europe due to the sanitary measures implemented by Aena throughout the airport network against Covid-19.
Both awards have been granted by the Airports Council International (ACI), and the latter is especially relevant, since it is the result of the assessments made by passengers in the ASQ (Airport Service Quality) surveys, where they reflect their opinion on the measures of prevention adopted by the airport complex.
ONE OF THE BEST RECORDS IN ITS HISTORY
Half a century after that December 11, 1972, when the first air connections were established, El Hierro Airport is currently experiencing a year with one of the best passenger records in its history. The infrastructure of El Hierro has improved the pre-pandemic data in 2022, since in the first ten months of the year 228,577 passengers have been recorded (2.7% more than in 2019) and 4,880 operations (11% more).
From 1997 to today, 4,351,951 passengers have passed through the El Hierro airport and 108,568 operations have been carried out.