(NCE), Nice Airport

Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE)

Both the landing and the takeoff, and even the plane spotting while lying on the beach at the Promenade des Anglais, offer unforgettable views worth a postcard.

Palm trees swaying in the breeze, a runway built upon land reclaimed from the sea, with the azure Mediterranean waters on one side and the snowy Alps on the other. For now, Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) has decided to go against the flow and opted not to follow the latest dictates of turning airports into airport-cities.

After all, NCE was built to serve as a rapid and efficient gateway to the French Riviera, rather than a centre for entertainment and attractions.

The aviation history of Nice dates back to the early 1900s, with air shows in the local hippodrome and postal flights between Corsica and Nice. The scenery in this part of France is certainly beautiful enough to inspire flights around the area. Even the baroness Ephrusse de Rothschild, who commissioned an elegant villa in nearby Cap Ferrat that was also accessible to tourists, assumed a passion for flying, a hobby that was not deemed quite appropriate for women at the turn of the 20th century.


The roots of Nice’s airport can be traced back to 1920s, but it was not until 1944 when major investments into a hard-surface runway were made.

As the name of the city’s main street – the Promenade des Anglais – suggests, this destination was discovered very early by British tourists, who were then followed by Germans and visitors of many other nationalities. The increasing influx of tourists thus led to the continued growth of the airport.

Today NCE is a well-equipped, two-terminal and two-runway structure that has received many awards for excellent performance. Nevertheless, the airport has opted to put off any gigantic development plans, at least for the time being. NCE still has some space for growth, and while passenger numbers do not approach the airport’s annual capacity of 13 million, NCE will not expand its terminal space. Rather, it is investing into a number of accompanying facilities, such as a car park for 2600 vehicles and a new care rental centre costing 51 million EUR.

Two parallel runways handle about 322 flights per day Currently tends to 10 million passengers per year, or 77% of the airport’s capacity

A direct bus from the Nice Côte d’Azu airport to the city of Nice costs 4 EUR.

A direct helicopter charter to Monaco starts from 100 EUR.