The airport was established in 1943 by German occupying forces in World War II and was later used as a Cold War military base for the Danish and other allied airforces until the 1990s. The airport still contains a small military depot and plays host to occasional training exercises; the last NATO exercise was in 2007.
The current passenger terminal dates from 1981 with renovations performed between 2007 and 2009 and again in late 2016. Since 1946 the airport has carried civilian traffic and is the primary gateway for Aarhus, located 40 km from the city centre via the Djursland motorway. Since December 2016 the local authority of Aarhus Kommune is the major shareholder in the airport
The airport carried 459,913 passengers in 2013.