The focus on civil aviation for the west of Crete has not always been on the current location. It was the airport of Maleme that served civil flights up to 1959, and dating back to the end of Second World War.
Maleme (Military) Airport was constructed by the British Military, shortly before the Second World War. When the war was over, the facility was used as the main public airport of Chania.
In 1959, this activity was transferred to the military airport of Souda. 1967 saw the construction of the first passenger terminal and parking space for two aircraft. In 1974, the airport also began to serve international flights. Because of insufficient capacity, there was the need for a new terminal building. Eventually, in 1996, the new terminal was ready, measuring a surface area of 14,650 square metres (157,700 sq ft), with 6 aircraft stands in front. It has a design capacity of 1.35 million passengers per year. In 2000, it was officially named Ioannis Daskalogiannis.
The airport is also intensively used by the Hellenic Air Force.
In December 2015 the privatisation of Chania International Airport and 13 other regional airports of Greece was finalised with the signing of the agreement between the Fraport AG/Copelouzos Group joint venture and the state privatisation fund. “We signed the deal today,” the head of Greece’s privatisation agency HRADF, Stergios Pitsiorlas, told Reuters. According to the agreement, the joint venture will operate the 14 airports (including Chania International Airport) for 40 years as of 11 April 2017.
In June 2018 completed by Fraport Greece, the new aircraft layouts, which are now using push back, for doubling the parking space, the passenger safety area has been expanded, with the increase in hand baggage checkers from 5 to 8 and the Duty Free store space increased from 400 sq.m. at 1,200 sq. meters, the VIP space was moved to increase the boarding gates from 14 to 16 and the dividing walls in the departure halls were removed in order to have a space of 3,000 sq. meters, a new pumping station was built and network (about 3.5 km) and connected to the municipal sewage network, electromechanical installations (new MCCs, new wiring, new luminaires, new electrical panels, etc.) were optimized, the Apron lighting was upgraded, the WC has been renovated, with the purpose of increase the toilets in the Extra Schengen area and the escalator was moved to a new location, in order to manage better the available spaces.
On June 10, 2018, Air Force One carrying U.S. President Donald Trump stopped for refueling in Chania during Trump’s flight from the G7 meeting in Quebec to the historic meeting in Singapore with the leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un.
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