The Barcelona airport leaves a record 2016 and sets a course in the growth of intercontinental flights, the most wanted
With more than 44 million passengers in 2016, Barcelona-El Prat airport has once again lived a record year in all figures: it has increased by 11.2% the number of travelers compared to the previous year, has added a 6 , 6% more operations, totaling 307,864 takeoffs and landings and also has grown more than 13% in air cargo, surpassing the 132 million kilos transported in airplanes pure freight or in the cellars of airplanes of passage.
Of all the airports with which Barcelona has direct flights, nine of them exceeded one million passengers with El Prat. Three are Spanish: Madrid, Palma and Ibiza and the rest Europeans: London-Gatwick, Rome-Fiumicino, Amsterdam-Schiphol, Paris-De Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Frankfurt.
Of these traffic can be clearly distinguished two aspects: the point to point, that is to say, passengers that specifically target the city of destination, as it is the case of Ibiza, Palma, Orly or Gatwick and others where the link flights have great weight , As they are large European hubs of companies like Air France / KLM, in the footsteps of Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol, Lufthansa in case of Frankfurt, Alitalia in Fiumicino (although this would be the less striking hub) and Iberia in Madrid to link Barcelona with the wide American network of the Spanish airline.
The chart showing that El Prat comes out of the crisis better than Barajas
By 2017, in addition to a safe increase in passenger numbers and operations in El Prat, there will be numerous changes in the behavior of the ticket that travel to and from Barcelona thanks to a good number of new features in the long-haul sector, wanted in an airport more than consolidated in Europe and that wants to gain weight in the world map with new direct flights to America and Asia.
On Thursday, a direct route to Hong Kong, which will be operated by one of the most prestigious and award-winning companies in the world, will be officially inaugurated: Cathay Pacific, founded 70 years ago in the former colony which launched direct flights to Spain in summer 2016 arriving in Madrid.
The icing on the cake in Hong Kong
Only a year later will also fly to Barcelona with its most modern aircraft: the Airbus A350, which will cover an unsatisfied demand of about 62,000 people, who travel between the two cities having to go through a third with flights , according to data managed by CDRA, El Prat Air Route Development Committee.
Another great airline news for this year will be the direct flight from Barcelona to Seoul, in South Korea, a link that is not a novelty, since it has already been operating under special flights, and now, already consolidated option , These links become regular from the hand of the award-winning Korean Air. Also from Asia two flights are recovered that were canceled during almost two years: the routes to Islamabad and Lahore operated by PIA, Pakistan International Airlines.
For its part, the holding IAG, which includes operators British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, Iberia Express and Vueling also promises novelties for 2017 with a bet that has caused surprise and feelings found between businessmen traveling from Barcelona: joy and also some skepticism after the news that the group will base in El Prat some Airbus A330 with intercontinental reach to fly to some destinations in Asia and America that have not yet been 100% specified, nor which will finally be the operator, although they could Be Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Havana and Tokyo.
The latter is perhaps one of the most anticipated destinations on both sides of the line, as each year just over 162,000 passengers fly between Barcelona and Tokyo through an intermediate hub.
Will there be flight to Tokyo?
The IAG bet creating a likely new brand to experience long-haul flights at tighter prices would be clearly inspired by the company that will star in one of the most anticipated take-offs of 2017: Norwegian, which has already consolidated in Barcelona as one of the Major domestic and European flight operators, has already launched its new long-haul flights this summer: four routes that will operate its brand-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner based in Barcelona and fly to Los Angeles, Oakland, next to San Francisco , Fort Lauderdale, north of Miami and New York-Newark, which is the only route that was already being covered by another airline currently, in this case, United Airlines.
These four flights to the United States are the first of an ambitious Norwegian intercontinental expansion from Barcelona that also targets destinations in South America such as Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires, although not officially confirmed, although unofficially they are already almost assured, as apparently also appears to be a new direct route with China, in this case Shanghai, the second one from Barcelona, since the one of Beijing, that serves China Airlines, already has some seasons in active and last year reached the 60,000 passengers.
As for other long-distance routes already consolidated, the one that has a greater volume of passage is the one of Dubai, with the double daily flight of Emirates in its Airbus A380, that in 2016 carried 532,500 passengers. Most of them did not stay there, but Emirates airport was a point of passage between the airline’s extensive network of Asian destinations and Catalunya, similar to what happened last year with Istanbul-Ataturk and Doha-Hamad , the hubs of Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways. The first had 371,400 passengers from and to Barcelona and the second exceeded 352,000.
The fourth most important long-haul route from Barcelona in terms of passenger volume was a classic: New York-JFK, with just over 326,000 passengers, plus 126,000 who flew to or from Newark, the second airport serving that city.
New York, fourth route in volume
Bogotá was consolidated as the fifth long-distance line from Barcelona thanks to Avianca‘s bet with its direct flights between Catalunya and Colombia, used by more than 168,000 passengers while the line to Sao Paulo reached in 2016 the 150,000 users thanks to two companies : LatAm and Singapore Airlines, although the latter withdrew from it because of the Brazilian recession, which made the route lose attractive and has remained with the line that has been operating for a decade: The Prat-Changi in Singapore Last year was used by 72,500 passengers.
Other intercontinental routes from Barcelona that had remarkable numbers were several to North America: Miami, with 147,000 passengers; Toronto, with 136,000; Atlanta, with 94,000, despite being seasonal only from May to October; Philadelphia, with 86,000; Montreal, with 80,000; Washington, with 61,000, and Charlotte, with 58,000.
Notable figures in North America
In addition to the flight to the economic capital of Brazil, Latam also launched a second route in the last days of 2016: Lima, which in a few days was used by 3,000 passengers and aims to be a line that in 2017 can reach notable figures, style of another that flies to the south cone directly: Buenos Aires-Ezeiza with Aerolíneas Argentinas, which surpassed 122,000 users last year and during this time it will grow due to the arrival of new operators to this Catalunya-Argentina link.
As for Africa, the figures are more discreet and the more remote flights operated from El Prat remain at the gates of 20,000 passengers, as in the case of Banjul or around 10,000 in the case of Dakar and Accra. With everything already accumulated and what is to come, 2017 will be a very interesting aeronautical exercise for the installation that Aena manages in El Prat.