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Toulouse Airport, also known as the Toulouse Blagnac Airport due to its location partly in the area of Blagnac, is a French airport just outside the city of Toulouse. It has been allocated the IATA code of TLS, and its ICAO code is LFBO. Toulouse and Blagnac are both communes of the Haute-Garonne department, in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France. The airport is quite busy, handling several million passengers per annum, and is an important gateway for the region. It is also a hub for the two airline carriers Air France and EasyJet. A large number of other carriers are present as well, and the terminal building of the airport is well equipped for its passengers.
This French airport lies approximately 6.7km, or 4.1 miles west northwest of Toulouse city centre, and besides Blagnac, is nearby to Colomiers. The location of Toulouse in southern France can be described as south of Limoges and Montauban, to the north of Andorra and the border between France and Spain, and to the west of Montpellier and Nimes. The main road that passes the airport is the A261, and this road is linked to the A620 that surrounds Toulouse on its western and northern sides. The N124 is another road nearby the airport, passing Colomiers. From the city centre, the airport is approximately a ten to twenty minute drive, depending on traffic conditions. There are plenty of parking options available outside the terminal building. The two Express parks are ideal for shorter stays, while the Proxiparks and Ecoparks allow longer stays. The Ecoparks P5 and P6 are further from the terminal building and require the services of shuttle buses.
The airport is served by public buses, but has no train station. The buses are the cheapest way to reach the terminal, or to travel into the city. In addition, there is a dedicated Airport Shuttle that is very popular, and coach services to and from Andorra and various other locations. Privately operated minivans can also be reserved for transport. Outside the arrival area, taxis are plentiful, costing just 22 Euro for a trip to the city centre during day time hours.
The airlines that serve Toulouse Airport include Air France, Aigle Azur, Air Arabia Maroc, Air Transat, British Airways, Eastern Airways, EasyJet, Iberia, Jetairfly, KLM, Lufthansa, Royal Air Maroc, TAP Portugal, Tunisair, Twin Air, Turkish Airlines and Vueling. More than eighty direct flights to over a hundred destinations are offered by these companies and more, and there are regular scheduled flights as well as seasonal and charter flights available. Popular international and European destinations include London, Manchester, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Venice, Istanbul, Ajaccio, Lisbon, Casablanca, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Brussels. Local destinations include Paris, Lille, Nice, Nantes, Marseille, Rennes and Metz. In 2011, Toulouse Airport handled 6,988,140 passengers.
Toulouse began its history with aviation in 1913 at the Polygone air range that was used to host air displays that showed off the latest aircraft to the general public. The city of Toulouse and the Montaudran area are even considered as the birthplace of commercial aviation because much experimentation took place here. In 1939 aviation in Toulouse really started to take off and more modern facilities were constructed on the Blagnac site. Two concrete runways were also built, approximately 800 metres in length. During World War II the airport was used quite extensively, and further improvements were made to its infrastructure. However, when civil aviation left Francazal and moved to Toulouse Blagnac, much work was still required. A terminal was set up that could handle 9,000 passengers in the year 1945, and in the years to follow a runway was lengthened to 2,500 metres. In the 1950’s the CCIT took over the operation of the airport buildings and a more modern terminal building was constructed that had a capacity for 400,000 passengers per annum.
Improvements continued within the terminal and on the runways, and in 1977, the airport handled one million passengers. The old terminal (Blagnac 1) was now saturated, and plans were made for the construction of Blagnac 2, about 800 metres from Blagnac 1. Three million passengers used the airport in 1990 and Hall 1 of the new terminal was expanded. A new Hall 2 was also built. In 1997 the number of international passengers rose to one million, and in 1999 the airport passed the five million passenger mark. Hall A was opened in June of 2004 at the southern end of the terminal, and a new Hall D was built in 2010.
Toulouse Airport today has a large terminal building that comprises of four halls, referred to as the Halls A, B, C and D. Hall A handles regional aircraft and is 10,000 square metres in size. It has fourteen check-in counters, two security checkpoints, eight boarding gates and one baggage conveyor. Hall B of Toulouse Airport is the oldest of the halls, opened in 1978, but it did receive renovations in 2007. It is used by three million passengers per annum, as it is the main area for Air France flights to France and Schengen Europe. It is 20,000 square metres in size, with sixteen check-in counters, ten boarding gates and three baggage conveyors (one is for over-sized baggage). The majority of the airport’s low-cost airline carriers use Hall C for their operations. This hall is 30,000 square metres in size, with twenty-four check-in counters and six boarding gates.
All international traffic passes through Hall D, constructed in March 2010. It is extremely modern and attractive, built of steel and glass, and with a surface area of 40,000 square metres. It has fourteen check-in counters, eight security checkpoints and six boarding gates. Further new additions to the airport’s facilities include the Proxipark P2, with 3,200 parking spaces, new sales desks in Hall C and a new retail area in Hall C. In general, the airport’s facilities include a functional business centre, financial services (banks, a Travelex and cash dispensers), a post office, many lovely shops and restaurants, a nursery, public telephones, free Wi-Fi connections and first aid facilities. The ‘La Croix du Sud’ Lounge is a particularly favourite area of the airport as well.
Further details regarding Toulouse Blagnac Airport information can be obtained from within the airport at the information counters, or the airport can be contacted at the following numbers: +33 1 70 46 74 74 (from abroad), 0 825 380 000 (from France).