History of the Madrid Airport

The Madrid airport was opened for the first time on April 22, 1931, but commercial flights would not begin until 1933.

On May 15, 1933, the first commercial flight in the history of this airport would land at the Madrid-Barajas airport. The LAPE company (later to become Iberia) was the first to establish regular commercial lines, which were destined for Seville and Barcelona. In this first year, 2873 passengers passed through the Madrid-Barajas airport, which took 378 flights in total.

In the following years, international flights would begin, but the LAPE company suspends all its operations due to the Spanish civil war. During the war, military services and civil transport services are carried out with the northern zone, Paris and Barcelona. Once the war is over, the Madrid airport regains its status as a civil airport. The first commercial flight arrives on April 12, 1939, in charge of the German company Lufthansa.

Given the needs, the first paved runway was built in 1944 and had a distance of 1400 meters.

Building a new terminal

In July 1946, the Madrid airport is once again open to international traffic.

At the beginning of the 50s, the regular lines begin with New York and the number of tracks increases to 5.

In 1954 Terminal 2 began to be built, which was originally known as a national terminal. To this terminal they added a cargo center and a parking lot for cargo planes. By then, more than half a million passengers were passing through the airport each year. At the beginning of the 1960s, this new terminal would be completed, but the cargo terminal would not be inaugurated until 1969.

In September 1965, the name of the airport was changed to Madrid-Barajas Airport.

In the 70s, traffic multiplied to reach 4 million passengers per year. By then, Jumbos planes began arriving. Given the amount of air traffic, it is decided to build a new terminal exclusively for international flights. This terminal is the one known today as T1.

Great reforms

In 1974, the airline Iberia inaugurated this service. To be able to provide this service, the northern terminal is built, dedicated exclusively for that purpose. The first regular line to use this service was Madrid – Barcelona. This service is still used today and has its own space inside the terminal.

Due to the arrival of the football World Cup in 1982, a major reform of the national terminal begins at the beginning of the 80s. These reforms were made thinking that terminals would not collapse until the year 2000. However, due to the release of the air market, growth was greater than expected.

In 1999, the Metro finally arrives at the Madrid-Barajas Airport, uniting it with “Mar De Cristal” and reaching Nuevos Ministerios station.

“The Barajas plan”

In the year 2000 this great project begins. It was very necessary due to the constant growth, which already overflowed the airport.

The plan consisted of the construction of two new tracks parallel to the existing ones, a new control tower, the construction of a new terminal (T4) and a satellite building dependent on this new terminal (T4s). An automatic train would be built to connect the new terminal and the satellite building. This great project brought other major changes such as the diversion of the Jarama River.

With an area of ​​750,000 m², this great project ended on February 4, 2006 with the inauguration of the T4 and T4s.

In October of that same year, the construction of a new commuter line went out to tender. This line would connect the airport, with the Atocha-Cercanías and Chamartín stations, and was inaugurated in 2011. After completing this line, the airport had a total surface area of ​​940,000 m².

Taxi from airport to center
T4

The terrorist attack

Unfortunately, on December 30, 2006 there was a terrorist attack at the Madrid-Barajas airport. This attack took place in module D of the parking lot of T4. The authors of the attack were the terrorists of the E.T.A. The result of this sad event was a 20 people injured and 2 dead.

Taxi from airport to center
Terrorist attack in T4

New name

on March 26, 2014. after the death of Adolfo Suárez, the first president of the democracy in Spain,  the name of the airport was changed to, Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas.

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