Malaga Airport – All you need to know

Malaga Airport (officially known as Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport) is the fourth busiest airport in Spain, behind Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona-El Prat, and Palma de Mallorca airports.

Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport (formally known as Pablo Picasso Airport)  is the fourth busiest airport in Spain, behind Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona-El Prat, and Palma de Mallorca airports. 

Quick Facts: Malaga airport:

The terminal building features a wide range of amenities, including shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars, as well as various services and facilities for passengers such as VIP lounges, currency exchange and play areas for children. 

Officially known as Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport has its roots in the early 20th century. Originally built as a military airbase in 1919, it was not until the 1940s that it began receiving  civilian flights. During the 1960s and 1970s, the sight of Brigitte Bardot, Sean Connery, and Frank Sinatra partying in the legendary Pez Espada Hotel increased the popularity of the Costa del Sol as a tourist destination. Malaga Airport experienced a significant increase in traffic.and underwent several expansions, including the construction of a new terminal building and the extension of the runway.

In the 1980s and 1990s, as the Costa del Sol boomed, Malaga Airport continued to grow, becoming one of the busiest airports in Spain. In 1991, another new terminal building was opened, then in the early 2000s, the airport underwent another major expansion, including the  the construction of a second runway. 

Bringing us up to date, in 2023 ambitious plans for a new `Cuidad aeropuertario´ (Airport City”) were given the go ahead. The project aims to  a business and innovation hub in the area surrounding the airport. Led by a  public-private partnership “Málaga Aerospace,” which is composed of the Andalusian government, the City Council of Malaga, and several private companies the main objective of the multi-million euro project is to promote economic growth, investment and job creation, by attracting companies from the aerospace, technology, logistics, and other sectors to set up operations in the area around the airport. The project will also incorporate sustainable and green initiatives, such as the use of renewable energy and the implementation of efficient transportation systems and is expected to create thousands of new jobs in the region and attract millions of euros in investment over the coming years.

Malaga airport has great travel links, as does andalusia in general check out our article about how to travel without a car in the region

Travel Links

Malaga airport has great travel links, as does Andalusia in general – check out our article about how to travel without a car in the region. 

Bus: Malaga Airport is connected to the city of Malaga and other towns on the Costa del Sol by bus. The main bus station is located directly outside the arrivals terminal. Avanza Bus runs directly to Marbella and Ronda, while companies like ALSA can take you even further afield.  

Train: The C-1 line of the Malaga suburban train (Cercanias) connects the airport to Malaga city centre and other towns along the coast. The train station is located directly outside Departures.

Taxi: Taxis are available outside Athe left hand side, there is always a constant flow waiting. A journey to Malaga city centre takes around 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic.

Car rental: Various car rental companies have offices at the airport, with either vehicles on site at the airport on the lower carpark levels while others offer a Meet and Greet service and take you by minibus from Arrivals to their compound close to the airport. 

Illegal taxis

Unfortunately as you leave Arrivals you may still be approached by illlegal, unlicensed  taxi drivers operating without the proper insurance,  permissions, and vehicle inspections, which can put passengers at risk. They may also charge inflated prices. The local authorities in Malaga have taken steps to crack down on illegal taxi services, but the problem persists. One way to make sure you are getting into a 100% legal public transport vehicle is to check the colour of the number plate, all vehicles with a legal taxi licence will have a blue number plate with white writing. 

Travel companies 

Most major budget airlines operate out of Malaga airport including all the big players like Ryanair, Easyjet, Jet2 and Whizz air. In total there are nearly 40 airlines including a newly announced direct route to and from New York with United airlines

Top Tips 

  • As stupid as it sounds, arrive early – there’s plenty to keep you busy in the airport and queues in can be long in the summer. 
  • Got residency or an EU passport? Make sure you get in the right queue. Residency card holders don’t seem tohave a problem using the EU queue which is generally shorter. 
  • Stock up on duty free, you may only have a small bag allowance but most airlines  stop you from having a few bottles of wine. 
  • If you need to leave your car at the airport, check out the long term parking companies – there are plenty of good deals
  • Watchour handy video on where to drop off and pick up passengers 
  • Visit Malaga city, here are Upsticks top  10 things to do in Malaga

If you are considering relocating to Spain,  having good transport links is key and Malaga airport is a great pin in the Map to start your search for the best place to live in Malaga province and beyond. Reliable transportation allows you to explore the city and surrounding areas, including beaches, historical landmarks, and cultural attractions and, if you have a family, it also makes it easier to commute to work or school . Additionally, Malaga is a great hub for weekend breaks and if you plan to travel frequently, good transport links provide easy access to other cities in Spain, Europe and the rest of the world 

and finally…….Malaga airport museum

As you drive into Malaga airport you may see an old passenger plane from the 60 proudly on display on the corner of the main road. This in fact is part of the Malaga Airport Museum. Free to visits and open Wednesday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Its well worth going and learning more about the airports rich history.

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