Despite it being one of Spain’s most successful airports, don’t go to Teruel Airport expecting to jump on a flight any time soon. No, this airport has other customers in mind! It is, nevertheless, a fascinating place to stop and see if you are driving along the A23 between Valencia and Zaragoza, although it was far from clear if visitors and their cameras were welcome. Of course, it’s a worthy trip out if you are staying in the city of Teruel just a few kilometres away.
Teruel Airport opened in 2013 as an industrial-aerospace hub, with storage capacity for at least 250 aircraft, the largest in Europe. The airport and the adjacent 81-acre industrial zone (PLATA) are owned by a consortium formed by the Government of Aragon and Teruel City Council. It has no connection to AENA, which owns most of the airports in Spain, or to any private sector enterprise. That’s why you won’t find Ryanair or Iberia at the end of the runway. It is not an aircraft graveyard, nor is it one of Spain’s aeromuertos (dead airports which failed to operate commercially as planned). As you approach the airfield it does look like a place that unwanted aircraft go to die, but they are all there waiting for the day when they are needed again thanks to Tarmac Aerosave. With an elevation of over 1000m and an incredibly dry climate, it is the perfect place to store your planes.
The old Caudé aerodrome, which was used during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), was later used as an artillery range by the Spanish Air Force. This site was historically used for military aeronautical activities because of its exceptional climate conditions, location and low density of air traffic. Nowadays it has been converted into an award-winning commercial airport. In addition PLATA is also heavily involved in aircraft maintenance, commercial pilot training, aerospace research and development, and rocket engine testing for the European Space Agency.