Catania Airport is located only 4.3 km (2.6 miles) from Sicily’s second largest city of the same name. This airport has various titles, namely, Catania-Vincenzo Bellini, or in Italian, Aeroporto di Catania-Fontanarossa Vincenzo Bellini, and is actually named after a great opera composer born in the city.
This Airport is considered to be the main gateway to the east coast of Sicily, and is well connected to Palermo and Central Sicily, and Syracuse in the south. The two major motorways which connect this airport to these areas are the A19 and the E45.
Catania airport consists of a single, double storey terminal building, which handles all the domestic and international departures and arrivals. Its single runway is 2560m long and 45m wide, with additional shoulders on the sides totaling a width of 7.5m each. There are also three taxiways which connect the central runway area with the aircraft parking apron. The Airport has experienced exceptional growth over the past years, with an average of 9.5% from 1994 to 2003. During this period the national average growth rate was only 6.7%. It has a high ranking of the busiest airport in Sicily, and the 6th busiest in Italy. In terms of domestic passenger traffic, it ranks as the 3rd busiest, just behind Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino and Linate. 6,054,469 passengers were recorded to have passed through in 2008.
Due to these continuously increasing numbers of passengers the airport had to improve and re-build its terminal area. On the 8th of May, 2007, the new and exceptionally modern terminal building replaced the older facilities. It is now equipped with 22 gates and 6 loading bridges. The retail area has also been increased to cover a surface area of 1400 square meters, and is located on the first floor of the terminal building. It is divided into five islands and one independent stand. The new retail area is extremely attractive, as well as easy to navigate. The food and beverage area will also be increased to 1400 square meters, with a wide range of restaurants and services for the visitors and passengers. The substantial Investment program, which includes the new terminal building, also details the expansion of flight infrastructure, a new holding bay and a new taxiway.
Besides the new and enticing shopping area, Catania Airport features an elevated and modern restaurant situated at the top of a tall tower. This restaurant is a favorite amongst the passengers, as it offers the most spectacular views of the airport and runway. There is also a VIP lounge, namely the Alitalia Bellini VIP Lounge, which offers business facilities such as Internet access and fax machines. Business meetings can be held in the well-equipped conference room. Other facilities include full banking services, a Post Office and a nursery.
The history of Catania-Fontanarossa Airport is rather interesting, as it was the region’s very first airport. It was used by various forces during World War II, including the United States Army Forces, who used it as a military airfield, the Twelfth Air Force, which used as a combat airfield, the 51st Troop Carrier Wing, and by various other units during the rest of the war. After World War II it was handed back to the civil authorities. The airport quickly became too small to handle the increasing passenger numbers, and had to be relocated. The new and improved airport opened for business in 1950. The airport underwent a further two reconstructions, the first in 1981 and the second more recently in 2007.
The airport is not only busy in terms of domestic flights, but also with regards to cargo. It is ideally situated in the heart of the Mediterranean, only a few kilometers from Catania, and also very nearby the port. It is also highly accessible to the entire Eastern Sicilian agricultural basin. It is constructed to handle large quantities of cargo traffic. Its cargo infrastructure includes a short-term storage warehouse, refrigerated storage areas, import and export services, as well as being certified for the screening and handling of dangerous goods.
Another interesting feature is the availability of helicopter flights. The two companies which operate these flights are Elios Elicotteri and Mediterranean Aviation Services. Catania airport itself is owned by the Chambers of Commerce, Siracusa and Ragusa, along with the ASI Consortium and the Provinces of Catania and Syracuse. The Chairman is Ing. Gaetano Mancini and the Vice Chairman is Dr. Ugo Colajanni.
General information, assistance and tourism advice is offered at the central information desk in the terminal building.
You can see below a selection of nonstop flights covered from Catania Airport with approximate times.