The El Prat airport sector maintained the upward trend thanks to the tourist positioning of Barcelona and the promotion of low cost airlines. And it has not peaked yet
El Prat touch the sky. It will record on record. The Barcelona airport has six years winning passengers. A success story that does not seem to end. As recently said Kenny Jacobs, director of marketing for Ryanair, “it seems that everyone wants to come to Barcelona”.
How is possible? Xavier Fageda has worked in recent years side by side with the academic Germà Bel in airport issues. “The growth of El Prat in recent years has several explanations. The main capacity was expanded with the new runway in 2004 and the new terminal in 2009. The other key factor is the expansion of tourism in Barcelona and this has led to low cost to take positions. Also important has been the good management of the leading company in El Prat Vueling “.
Sonia Corrochano, director of the airport of El Prat de Barcelona highlights some oddities. “The city is among the four preferred destinations in Europe in social networks. Additionally statistics show that many people who come here for tourism repeated. And eight out of ten cruise passengers arriving by plane to embark on one of the cruises from the city. And this is a growing sector. ”
Spain as a whole is experiencing a sweet period from the tourist point of view because passenger traffic growing more than 25 months. The rise in international passenger traffic is driving, especially following the collapse of competitive markets such as Tunisia and Egypt. But it has also diversified its proposal.
According to the hotel association CEHAT, the supply of sun and sand has risen from more than 90% of Spanish tourism at 72%. “Few European countries have an airport network as extensive quality and quality as in Spain that connects so many different cities,” said Albert Grau and Bruno Hallé are responsible for tourism consultant Magma
Barcelona takes advantage of this situation because it offers everything at once: vacation tourism destination and insurance business and convention town. The current improvement in the economy is the icing on the cake. From Magma stress that, for example, “people company values the urban tourism and leisure. In a context of economic recovery, this group of travelers, less seasonality, it becomes crucial. ” These experts also stand out as the launch of El Prat “it is the reflection of a successful tourism promotion policy on the part of local institutions in recent years.”
“The surveys we conduct among our customers indicate that Barcelona is one of the (if not the) favorite destinations. Therefore, next year will transport more than 6.3 million people in El Prat, 500,000 more than last year, “José Espartero, director of marketing for Ryanair Spain, the company that transports passengers in Spanish skies. “Historically, the city has recorded more incoming flights, but we are seeing that departing flights are growing very significantly. Next summer we will increase our network of routes from Barcelona, with 3 new destinations to Berlin, Hamburg and Marrakech, “said Espartero.
In 2012 EasyJet had a base in Barajas. Now they have just installed in Barcelona. “Twenty years ago El Prat airport was the first in which we operate outside the UK for what is happening is not surprising at all,” recalls Javier Gandara, CEO of EasyJet to Spain and Portugal. “Behind the success of El Prat she is the fact that it is a destination in itself. And the low cost airlines, which previously flew from secondary airports, which have assumed and positioned themselves here, “Gandara said. There is a temporary factor that also plays into the Barcelona airport right now says this executive of EasyJet. “With the drop in oil prices, many low cost to them would not come before the accounts have decided to operate again. And this means that there is more supply, more competition and therefore more traffic. ”
Given these figures, Aena rubs his hands. Because the Barcelona airport, living an uptrend, is very profitable. In 2014 El Prat won twelve times Barajas and represents more than half of the benefits of airport management. “The reform of the commercial offer of the T2 and increased traffic generated higher revenues,” said airport sources.
The growth of the Barcelona terminal those years has gone hand in hand with Vueling. Fernando Estrada, Director of Strategy and Alliances of this airline believes “this pace is sustained, steady and it has nothing to bubble. Their bases are solid. Now after years we have created a hub in Barcelona, with passengers throughout the year and put the city in place in the airport market. The proof is that now more and more long-haul airlines have decided to come here. ”
Indeed, one of the common criticisms is that Barcelona has yet to lead in the long haul. But this aspect is also changing. Since 2006 the number of intercontinental routes has doubled. This week Emirates, announced that it will operate two daily flights between Barcelona and Dubai with the A380, the world’s largest aircraft. This introduction involves increasing the capacity by 32% over the current long-haul offer this airline.
“This reflects our confidence and commitment to the market in Barcelona,” explains Fernando Suarez de Gongora, CEO of Emirates. “We see potential both for those traveling to Barcelona from Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East as well as for travel to these regions, whether for business or tourist purposes”. Xavier Fageda states that “in relation to long-haul flights, the improvement on the growing presence of Asian and American airlines in the European market also tend to be positioned outside the major European hubs that are highly saturated, for example in Barcelona”.
Does El Prat ability to make this leap ?. Technically, yes. Corrochano recalls that current facilities can manage to reach 55 million passengers, ie 35% more than the current traffic. “You may add a level comparable to other T2 volume,” he says. You can also increase to 25% the number of operations per hour. The skies are clear.