In addition to serving as a commercial airport, Zaragoza is the home of the Spanish Air Force 15th Group. The airport is also used by NASA as a contingency landing site for the Space Shuttle in the case of a Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL).
The construction work on Zaragoza Airport began in September 1954 with the enlargement and improvement of the existing Spanish Air Force Base located there. United States Navy engineers upgraded the facility for temporary or intermediate use as a war standby base. The first U.S. construction project included strengthening the existing runway and adding overruns at each end. Work on a new concrete runway, , with overruns at each end, began in 1956 and was completed in 1958.