Gibraltar International Airport (GIB) is not just any airport. In a city measuring less than 3 square miles in size, the airport’s mile-long runway is an ever-present component of the local landscape. Winston Churchill Avenue, the thoroughfare that connects downtown Gibraltar to the Spanish border, actually crosses the runway!
Completed in 2012, Gibraltar Airport’s new terminal building boasts three gates and is large enough to accommodate 1.5 million passengers annually. The terminal is sleek and modern, built for the 21st century and accessible to everyone – including the mobility impaired.
Wheelchair users will find the airport easy to navigate and extremely spacious. Wheelchair accessible bathroom facilities were designed to meet international standards. In the gate area, travelers will find ample access to power – a key for me, as I like to charge my power wheelchair and mobile devices before departure.
Jet bridges were not installed due to the limited number of gates and the diverse array of aircraft types which use the airport. Able-bodied passengers board the airplane using stairs, but wheelchair users and those with limited mobility are lifted up using a high loader/ambulift truck. This process is managed well by the airport staff, and goes off without a hitch. When the ambulift pulls up to your aircraft, you’ll be presented with a pretty spectacular photo op:
Even though the sky was dark and ominous on the day of my departure, it’s still a pretty cool photo – if I do say so myself. After I snapped the photo, the airport staff rolled me to my seat using the aisle chair.
Personal wheelchairs, both powered and manual, are able to be taken directly to the gate and onboard the ambulift. This means you won’t need to sit in an uncomfortable airport wheelchair or aisle chair for extended periods of time. If you are arriving at GIB, you won’t need to wait long for the return of your wheelchair, either. It’s a fantastic and accessible operation in Gibraltar!
Remember that disability and wheelchair assistance services should be requested through your airline prior to travel. Consult my list of airline wheelchair assistance contact numbers.
Airlines & Destinations
I flew to and from Gibraltar on British Airways, but a number of lower-cost carriers also fly to the city. Below, you’ll find a list of commercial airlines serving GIB, along with a list of the places they fly:
- British Airways – London-Heathrow
- easyJet – Bristol, London-Gatwick, Manchester
- Monarch Airlines – Birmingham, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, Manchester
- Royal Air Maroc Express – Casablanca, Tangier
The number of flights to/from Gibraltar have been limited, due to the issues with closing Winston Churchill Avenue’s runway crossing. Vehicle traffic backs up during each road closure, which causes problems for commuters attempting to reach the city of Gibraltar from the border crossing with Spain. Work is currently underway on a roadway tunnel that will eliminate the need for vehicles to cross the runway. Once the new tunnel is open, this should bring more flights and competition to the Gibraltar Airport.
Airplane spotters, aviation geeks and photographers come from around the world to watch the action at Gibraltar International Airport. There are few more beautiful backdrops to watch airplanes take-off and land. Although I discuss this activity in greater detail here, I’d like to share with you my three favorite spots from which to see the airport:
- Great Siege Tunnels, atop the Rock of Gibraltar.
- Marina Bay, from the dock closest to the airstrip.
- Winston Churchill Avenue, at the runway crossing point.
Here are a couple photos taken from my two favorite spots – atop the rock and from the marina:
As you can see, Gibraltar is filled with breathtaking sights, and the airport/runway is no exception! If you’ve never engaged in any airplane spotting before, set aside some time to watch a British Airways Airbus A320 land and then take-off (about an hour later).
About five minutes walk from the airport terminal, you’ll find a bus stop along Winston Churchill Avenue. Bus route #5 stops here, and will take you into downtown Gibraltar’s central bus terminal. From here, you’ll be able to connect to the city’s other bus lines – or walk to attractions like Grand Casemates Square and Marina Bay.
For more information on the airport bus, read my article on wheelchair accessible public transportation in Gibraltar.
A line of standard taxi cabs waits just outside the terminal. You won’t be able to requested an adapted taxi van (with ramp) on demand. Accessible taxis in Gibraltar must be reserved in advance.