Is Barcelona airport ready to become an international hub?

Barcelona (ACN). Barcelona’s El Prat Airport registered 32.2 million international passengers last year, much more than great airports as JFK in New Narita or York in Tokyo. Barcelona has the 17th most transited airport in the world, based on the Airports Council International (ACI). There was an eleven % growth in passengers traveling outside Spain from Barcelona over season that is previous . Madrid-Barajas is also the major Spanish airport, with 36.1 million passengers, but El Prat is growing much faster.

Those good results previous year are not sufficient. Barcelona is wanting to carry an enormous intercontinental leap ahead in 2017. After hitting a record in 2016, the center is currently placed seventh among European airports. The launch of the brand new long haul operating hubs of Level and Norwegian are bringing it even closer to becoming a worldwide hub for a mix of European low cost airlines and overseas businesses.

The brand new routes which are now being released within the next couple of months incorporate Norwegian’s new flights to Buenos Aires; Cathay Pacific’s route to Hong Kong; Level’s (a fresh commercial airline from IAG group) flights to Los Angeles, Oakland and Buenos Aires; Korean Airlines’ to Seoul; Mahan Air’s to Teheran; Azores Airlines’ to Boston; American Airlines’ to Chicago; and also Latham Airlines’ to Lima. Additionally, Air China is going to expands its connections between Shanghai and Barcelona to all year round.

Based on the Air Traffic Observatory, 1.3 million additional seats is presented this summer when compared with last season. Vueling is also the primary airline, but its development is slower compared to some other businesses.

Airport management is particularly considering raising connections to Asia, a big industry with a bright future. Asian businesses like Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Cathay Pacific are the people with the greatest planes. Currently, Emirates is flying two times one day from Barcelona with the greatest commercial airplane, the Airbus 380, that accommodates 1,034 passengers.

The brand new connections are one more step towards making this particular facility a genuine intercontinental hub and promoting Catalonia and Barcelona globally as a magnet for economic development opportunities and investment.

Is El Prat Barcelona Airport prepared to develop this fast?

Aena, the Spanish airport manager, says the center is ready to boost visitors more during the following seasons. According to the statistics of theirs, the airport is able to withstand ninety operations per hour, and the current average is around seventy per hour, often reaching much more than eighty during peak hours.

But air traffic controllers warn about achieving a saturation point. “Even though Aena tries making it look as things are under control, you will find not sufficient assets to deal with this unexpected massive growth,” states Marc García, the spokesman for the air traffic controllers trade union (USCA). Several of the runways are restricted in use, reducing airport capacity, since they’re very near non commercial areas and neighbors have complained about the sound. Air controllers also think there’s not sufficient staff to cover all of the new routes.

Barcelona’s airport is an unique case since it’s 2 terminals that operate independently. Prior to the opening of Terminal one in 2009, almost thirty five million passengers used Terminal two. At present, the old terminal is utilized primarily by Ryanair along with other low cost airlines and also the quantity of passengers has reduced to fifteen million. Which includes twenty million passengers much more may make use of Terminal two in the event which the more recent 1 reaches its saturation point. Nevertheless, based on García, “the trouble isn’t inside the terminal, it’s outdoors, on the runways. Aena must discover a method to help make the businesses benefit from off peak many hours, and they are between 11am and 1pm, between 4pm and 6pm, and also at night”. Though the trouble is the fact that airlines do not wish to change the schedules of theirs to install those hours.

Renovation construction is going to help with all of the latest traffic

Aena has recently announced an enlargement of the runway area that is now used by Air Nostrum to operate domestic flights to Valencia, Badajoz, and León. You’ll find just fourteen weekly frequencies, therefore the spot is untapped. The planes utilized for those flights are extremely tiny – Bombardier CRJ900 – and additionally the runway is taken for them, therefore no other business is able to make use of that area until the building work continues to be finished.

Construction job is likely to begin following fall, after the summer time bustle, and also shall be completed before the winter holidays. The remodeling is going to go out there for delicate in a couple of months and also the selected business will transform the local flight location into a worldwide one, with capability for the greatest commercial airplane in the world, the Airbus 380. The employees are going to have to adjust the signage for huge planes as well as put in brand new passenger boarding bridges, or perhaps jetways. With this particular change, Aena is attempting to “make an ideal use of the terminal based on the changes in tendencies in airport transit,” its spokesman said.

Aena is additionally contemplating producing a satellite terminal, like the one at Madrid Barajas. This satellite terminal was announced prior to the opening of the brand-new terminal as well as the project has been created by Ricardo Bofill, a renowned neighborhood architect. Budget limitations maintained the concept from being implemented. Today, this particular satellite terminal will be extremely helpful for rearranging all of the vendors in a far better approach and would permit the launch of extra new routes and airlines. As outlined by several airport workers, Aena is now working on the initial stage of the task with different businesses and government entities, therefore the completion date remains unknown.

Besides the opening of the brand-new terminal in 2009, there are already some other expansions at the terminal. A few of years ago, twenty more check in counters had being included since there wasn’t enough room throughout the summer season. The area for them was available because when the brand new terminal was opened, the ancient one was still taking in a big part of all those counters and the visitors weren’t necessary.

The security management area had also been recently refurbished. They had to create extra electronic barriers because there was just 2 entry points to security and also the lines were very long.

There have been already difficulties in the passport control area as well. Controls are operated by Spanish police, containing immigration powers. But there aren’t enough Spanish policemen doing work in Catalonia’s primary airport, so just a couple of cabins were ready to accept check out passengers’ documents. The Spanish government announced that between forty and fifty additional police agents is fine in the terminal to fix this particular situation. Furthermore, the federal government and also Aena have purchased forty automatic border control devices for Barcelona airport, that will be fitted before summer.