Megan asked me the question above. I wrote back to tell her: I’m sorry to say that you won’t be able to return a rental car to Malaga station and get to the airport in time. The rental car hire offices at the station are over to the left of the picture and if they open at 8.30am at very best you will only be on the train at 9.00am. Then it’s an 8 minute journey to the airport. You will still need to go through security and get to your departure gate.
But the good news is that all the companies renting cars at Malaga train station are represented at Malaga airport so you should be able to collect your car from Malaga train station and then return the car to the airport for a minimal extra charge. If your flight takes off at 09.00, your gate will close 35 minutes before so you will need to give the car back at around 07.00.
Have you thought about giving the car back the day before and enjoying an evening in Malaga city? There’s a lot happening in the city. The communication with the airport is excellent, trains and buses starting from 06.00 in the morning. You would save a day’s car rental and be able to start your return flight relaxed and unstressed. There is also the Hotel Express right next to the airport.