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Gibraltar airport - Technical info

Air Traffic Control warning - Road Open.
View of Winston Churchill Avenue crossing the Gibraltar Airport runway. Note: Traffic Control desk warning - Road Open.

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TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Runway and approach

The 1777m-long and 45m-wide groved asphalt runway runs east-west and is designated Runway 27 or Runway 09. Elevation is 4m. It is famous for the road across the runway which closes to traffic for the aircraft to pass - barrier comes down for pedestrians when approaching planes are 12 miles out and to cars at 8 miles.

All scheduled inbound passenger planes pass over Marbella and initially approach from the east. If the wind is easterly, the arrival is on runway 09 is interesting as it entails a route around the south of the Rock of Gibraltar, heading north into the Bay of Algeciras, and then finally turning east and lining up only about 15 seconds from end of runway. Sit on a right-hand side window for the best views.

Conversely, departing airplanes on runway 27 (with a westerly wind) should sit on the left-hand side for the best views of the rock. Flights to the UK will cross the Spanish coast over Malaga and inbound over Marbella.

Operations

The British Ministry of Defence owns and operates the runway, and the Government of Gibraltar operates the passenger terminal. The British National Air Traffic Service (NATS) provides approach and departure and ground air traffic control, handing planes directly over to Spain (Seville Control) or Morocco who provide SQUARK codes.

There is no instrument landing system at Gibraltar. In poor visibility, planes are talked in to final approach by air traffic control using radar. At three miles out, only if pilot has a clear view of the runway the plane will land; if not, it will go around and try again, otherwse the plane will divert to Malaga airport. The airline will provide coaches to transport arriving and departing passengers who will experience several hours' delay. There are special complications for those passengers who do not have a EU visa.   

Aircraft

Schedule Aircraft using the airport are ATR-72, A-319, A-320

Military

There is a military base on the south side of the runway, called North Front. No planes are stationed there. There were 150 military visit landings in 2014.  

Videos

Planes Landing at Gibraltar Airport

Controls to lower and raise the road barriers
Controls to lower and raise the road barriers