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Malpensa Airport

Milan-Malpensa Airport is the largest airport in the metropolitan area of Milan in the north of Italy. The airport is located in the province of Varese, 49 kilometres northwest of central Milan next to the Ticino River, and is connected to the city by the Milano-Varese motorway.

In 2016 the airport handled 19,320,546 passengers and had 166,842 aircraft landing or departing. This made Malpensa the 29th busiest airport in Europe based on passenger numbers and the second busiest in Italy after Fiumicino airport in Rome. It is currently the busiest in Italy for freight and cargo, handling more than 500,000 tons of freight annually.

The airport is owned and operated by Societa Enti Aeroportuali (SEA) and has two 3,920 meter runways and two passenger terminals.

History & Future Developments

Malpensa airport first started commercial operations in 1948 and was then known as Aeroporto Città di Busto Arsizio. By 1958 the airport had the two longest runways in Europe, but it suffered badly in the 1960's when major European airliners chose to moved their services to Milan's Linate airport as it was more conveniently located to Milan. Malpensa play second fiddle to Linate for over 25 years, but when Linate reached saturation point, Malpensa received a major investment, and in 1998 reopened with a second terminal.

The flag ship carrier of Italy, Alitalia, moved the majority of their operations to Malpensa the same year, and by the end of 1998 passenger numbers reached 5.92 million. Just one year later they saw a 286% leap to 16.97 million.

A new development plan, valued at €1.4 billion, was launched in 2008. It aimed to build a third runway and increase its passenger handling capacity to 42 million by 2015, but the airport suffered that year when Alitalia pulled some of their operations due to the high operating costs at Malpensa. With this and the financial crises that followed in the 2009, the airport suffered a 30% fall in aircraft movements, but with some successful marketing, 34 new passenger and cargo routes were added over the next few years to bring traffic back as it's seen today.

A third runway is still seen as a key element to the airports development, with the last scheduled opening set to be in 2016, but this has now passed. Long term development will include a new Central terminal, a new logistic park and a rail connection to the Central terminal. A rail connection between the current terminals was opened in December 2016.


Malpensa has two passenger terminal, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, and a dedicated cargo terminal. The two passenger terminals are quite fare apart, 808 meters, but as of 2016, are now connected by a free rail link.

Terminal 1 is the newer of the two terminals that was opened in 1998 and has a capacity of handling 22 million passengers annually. This terminal has 4 floors and covers an area of 350,000 m². It includes 270 check-in desks, 90 boarding gates and 41 air bridges, and is divided into 3 sections, Terminal 1A, Terminal 1B and Terminal 1C.

  • Terminal 1A - Used for domestic and intra-Schengen flights.
  • Terminal 1B - Used for non-Schengen flights and some intercontinental flights.
  • Terminal 1C - Used for non-Schengen flights and some intercontinental flights.

Terminal 2 is the older of the two terminals that was constructed in the early 1960's and it has the capacity to handle six million passengers annually. This terminal has provisions for low-cost carriers but it is currently being exclusively used by EasyJet. The terminal cover 55,000 m² and includes 58 check-in desks and 23 boarding gates.

Terminal 1 is connected the parking lots P1, P2, P3 and P4 where Terminal 2 is connected to P5.

Public Transport

Malpensa airport is well connected to Milan city centre and other local cities. There are numerous buses and taxis, as well as a train station.

  • Trains - There is the Malpensa Express ( that runs from an underground station in Terminal 1 and goes to Milano Cadorna Station. This trains runs every 30 mins between 04:28 and 0:28 and will take approximately 40 minutes. A single fare is €11.00. If you are arriving or departing from Terminal 2, you first have to catch the free train connecting to Terminal 1. You can out more information on trains here.
  • Buses - There are direct routes from the airport to Bologna, Brescia, Castelnovate, Domodossola, Gallarate, Genova, Lake Maggiore, Linate, Lugano, Novara, Torino and Verona, as well as Milan city centre. You can find out more about bus routes, timetables and prices here.
  • Taxis - There are always plenty of taxis available outside of the arrivals hall at both terminals. You can reach Milan centre in about 50 minutes and the cost will be in the region of €80 to €90. There is more information on taxis here.

Contact information

Milan Malpensa International Airport
21010 Varese, Italy

Phone: (+39) 02 232323

Airport Information

Official Name:
Milan Malpensa
Time Zone:
GMT +1.0
Latitude (DD):
Longitude (DD):
Latitude (DMS):
45° 38’ 0" N
Longitude (DMS):
8° 44’ 0" E
Passengers (2017):
Official Website:


3,920m (12,861ft)
60m (197ft)
3,920m (12,861ft)
60m (197ft)