TRAVEL REPORT

Written by Klemen Klancar

Route: El Hierro (VDE) – Gran Canaria (LPA)

Date: July 31, 2021

Airline: Binter Canarias

Flight: NT368

Aircraft: ATR 72-600

Registration: EC-MVI

This trip report describes a short island hopping from El Hierro to Gran Canaria. El Hierro is the smallest, geologically the youngest and by far the least visited of the Canary Islands. It is home to Spain’s westernmost airport, VDE, named after the island’s capital, Valverde. The airport was opened in 1972 and its only connections are to Tenerife North and Gran Canaria served by Binter Canarias and Canaryfly. A very short runway (1250 m long) is the reason why only turboprop engines operate here.

Arriving by car gives a wonderful view of the airport which is located right next to the Atlantic Ocean.

Arrival at the airport by car

The parking lot is almost entirely dedicated to rental cars and is clearly signposted.

Rental car parking

The terminal is small, but it’s a welcome change from airports where passengers have to travel long distances in seemingly endless corridors to get to the boarding gate. The check-in for this flight had already been made in Gran Canaria before the return flight. Therefore, only baggage drop was required at El Hierro. The security checkpoint and the only two gates are a few meters away. In the waiting room, there is a shop and a cafe. The terminal’s small size is best described by the fact that around 70 passengers made it seem crowded, even more so in these times of a pandemic.

I hope to remember the door number …

One of the filming locations for the Spanish police show “Hierro” was also at El Hierro airport.

The same two airport employees at the check-in counter were waiting for passengers at the boarding gate. Boarding began on time and passengers made their way to the plane which was parked next to the terminal.

Our walk in Gran Canaria

El Hierro terminal

Control Tower

Strong wind as usual in the Canaries

The flight was almost full and the vast majority of passengers appeared to be Spanish citizens. The Spanish government subsidizes travel for Canarian residents. They are entitled to a 75% reduction on all domestic air and sea travel fares, which means they can fly between islands for as little as 15 euros.

We took off five minutes earlier than planned. Not surprisingly, at the time, there was no other traffic at El Hierro airport. Legroom on the ATR 72-600 was more generous than on many larger aircraft types. No in-flight service was provided except for small packets of cookies which were distributed by the cabin crew upon disembarking in Gran Canaria.

More than sufficient legroom

Covid-19 prevention measures on board

The 50-minute flight touched down a few minutes earlier in Gran Canaria. Despite the gusts of wind, the landing was soft. After disembarking (one row at a time), the bus took us to the domestic part of the arrival hall. The Spanish health check form only needs to be presented when entering the country, so we can go straight to the baggage belts as this was a domestic flight.

Arrival at the domestic part of the terminal in Gran Canaria

Overall, this short flight was a pleasant experience. If you are planning your vacation to the Canary Islands, I absolutely recommend you visit El Hierro. Still unknown to mass tourism, this volcanic island is worth exploring.

Hope you enjoyed reading this trip report!


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