The pressure on the Generalitat of Catalonia in favor of the Barcelona El Prat airport expansion project. The association that encompasses practically the entire airline sector with a presence in Spain, ALA, has adhered this morning to the manifesto in defense of the plan that proposes Aena, with investments of 1.7 billion starting in 2025.
The enlargement, however, must be endorsed by the Catalan Government before the European Union as it has environmental competences. And it is that the works require the community placet in view of the fact that they affect the protected area of the Llobregat Delta, included in the Natura 2000 network.
The Airline Association warns this morning that this is the opportunity to turn the Barcelona airport into a real hub with intercontinental connections and greater potential as an economic catalyst. The aforementioned manifesto has already been signed by Foment del Treball, Cambra Barcelona, Esade, Cercle d’Economia, the RACC and a long etcetera.
Building a satellite terminal and the 500 meter extension of one of the runways, the closest to the sea, would raise El Prat’s capacity from the current 55 million passengers a year to about 70 million. At the end of 2019, the Catalan infrastructure received more than 53 million travelers, which leaves little margin to draw new long-distance routes once activity returns.
The president of ALA, Javier Gándara, puts the stamp of general interest to the initiative and points out that Barcelona will grow as a pole of attraction for international investors, businesses, talent, congresses and fairs. “The moment is now. Not giving the green light to this expansion is turning our back on a great opportunity to turn this airport into a hub of the first line, which would mean a loss of competitiveness for El Prat compared to others ”, declared Gándara.
The president of Aena, Maurici Lucena, took part on Thursday in a ceremony of Esade in defense of one of the most outstanding projects of your company for the next ten years: “Competitors interested in capturing long-haul connections, such as Rome, Milan and ViennaThey will applaud if we miss this opportunity ”, he stressed. The first executive of the airport manager also spoke about the receptivity from Madrid to the extension of Barajas, in the face of the obstacles that his company finds in Catalonia to improve El Prat.
Aena’s proposal is protect and maintain ten hectares for each affected, creating a corridor for the species that inhabit the area known as La Ricarda. The public company, which would run with the investments, is even willing to anticipate the protection work for the remodeling of the runway.
The urgency in defending this project is related to its inclusion in the second Airport Regulation Document (DORA 2), currently in the processing phase. The Council of Ministers must give the final approval to the text in the month of September. Without the Catalan backing, it is foreseeable that the works of El Prat would have to wait for another occasion.