Malaga Airport curiosities you probably didn’t know

The next time you board a plane to Malaga on your well-deserved holiday, you may remember this entertaining information about Malaga airport.

Lean back and enjoy the reading!

Falconry at Malaga airport

Falconry at Malaga airport
Falconry at Malaga airport

Malaga, and specifically the Guadalhorce valley where the airport is located, is on the migratory route between Europe and Africa. Throughout the year thousands and thousands of birds “take a break”, attracted by the mild climate and abundance of food.

This is undoubtedly a problem for the safety of the airspace surrounding the airport infrastructure, as the birds can cause serious damage to engines and glazing.

The most famous historical case

The most famous case happened in 2009 in New York with US Airways flight 1549. A pilot achieved a historic feat in commercial aviation, landing an aircraft with 150 passengers on board over the Hudson River after two wild geese, weighing four kilograms each, hit the turbines, rendering them useless.

For three decades now, Malaga-Costa del Sol airport has had a wildlife control service using specially trained birds of prey to keep other wildlife away from the airport grounds.

This falconry control service was devised in 1968 by the naturalist Félix Rodrigo de la Fuente and has proved to be the most effective system for preventing bird danger. Since then, falconry has been essential in many airports around the world.

Félix Rodrigo de la Fuente
Félix Rodrigo de la Fuente

Where to see the birds of prey at Malaga airport

With a bit of luck, between flights and periodically, you will be able to watch the birds of prey being released, flying over the runways and adjacent fields.

The bird´s accommodation facility is located in a small cottage at the end of Terminal 3.

So, while you’re making time for your flight, take a stroll to the end of Pier D where you have an excellent view through the glass façade to the falconry centre.

And with a bit of luck, you will be able to see the birds of prey in flight. We were caught by surprise and didn’t have time to take a nice photo, so have your camera ready!

Visit the Malaga Aeronautical Museum

The Aeronautical Museum of Malaga, or Aviation Museum, as it is also popularly known, is located a few metres from the airport and next to the San Miguel brewery.

If you (or your children) are curious to see cockpits and historic aircrafts from the inside, you can plan a visit.

Access to the Malaga Aviation Museum is free. There is also free parking next to the building.

The truth behind Malaga airport´s strange IATA code

IATA code, airmalaga, Malaga airport Curiosities

IATA codes are 3-letter codes that designate each of the world’s airports, often taking the name of the city in which they are located.

The sticker on our luggage carries the code with the destination airport and an identification barcode in case of loss.

While there are cities that we can “identify” relatively easily by their IATA code, for example Madrid (MAD), Barcelona (BCN), Brussels (BRU), there are others that leave us at least surprised.

These IATA codes will make you smile

In fact, there are routes as funny as HOT- SEX, or OMG – LOL. Yes indeed, look at the cities that belong to these IATA codes:

OMG – OMeGa Airport in Namibia
LOL – Lovelock / Derby Field Airport in the United States
HOT – Memorial Field Airport, located in HOT Springs, city of HOT Springs, USA
SEX – Part of the US Navy base, located in Sembach Kaserne, Germany. The code comes from the former name: SEmbach AnneX

Why does Malaga airport have the strange code AGP?

The possible letters that could have given Malaga its name, such as MLG, MAL or MGA, among others, were already taken by other cities.

Urban legends

AGP - Malaga Airport Credit Depositphotos
Credit Depositphotos

Since few people seem to know this fact, some curious urban legends have proliferated about what the letters AGP stand for.

  • A-G-P: Gran Picasso Airport. The literal translation would be Great Picasso Airport. In case you didn’t know, Picasso was born in Malaga.
  • A-G-P: Someone else thought this refers to Agrippina. There are more than 20 important remains and different thermal baths of ancient Rome in Malaga.

In 2011, Malaga airport was renamed Malaga-Costa del Sol. Since then, the tourism sector has mainly demanded that, since its name also includes the Costa del Sol Sun Coast), by which Malaga is known worldwide, its airport code should be SOL (Sun). It seems that the demand, for the time being, has not been very successful.

Celebrity spotting at Malaga Airport

Lady Gaga Malaga Airport, Malaga airport Curiosities
Lady Gaga at Malaga Airport

There are many international celebrities who often pass through Malaga airport on their way to their holiday homes, mostly Marbella.

While some are relatively easy to recognise, many others go almost unnoticed. Keep your eyes peeled, you might see Gerard Piqué, Eva Longoria or Lada Gaga passing you by.

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