Frequently Asked Questionss

This FAQ section contains information that will be regularly updated and expanded as the project moves forward.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How are AENA and its airport investments funded?

  • AENA is a semi-public company that raises funds from airport charges and commercial revenue streams. It therefore receives no money whatsoever from the public treasury.
  • All investments at AENA airports are paid for using the charges paid by airlines to use the airports, not money from the General State Budget.
  • Those charges are regulated through the DORA (Airport Regulation Document), which is drawn up every five years based on predicted traffic, operating costs and scheduled investments for the period while seeking certain targets in terms of safety, quality of service and social, economic and environmental sustainability. The DORA stems from an extensive process of analysis and consultation involving AENA, the airlines, the Spanish National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC), the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, and the Spanish Council of Ministers, the latter providing approval for the final document.
  • At present, the DORA2 document, which will apply from 2022 to 2026, is in the final stages of approval.

2. How does the public benefit from AENA revenue?

  • The Spanish State holds a 51% stake in AENA, meaning that the public treasury receives more than half of the dividends paid out by the company.
  • Spanish Property Tax (IBI) and Spanish Business Activities Tax (IAE) are paid to the municipal authorities of the areas in which the airports are located.
  • In 2019, AENA paid 826.8 million euros in tax and the Spanish State received over 530 million euros in dividends. Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport is located in the municipalities of Prat de Llobregat (over 90%), Sant Boi and Viladecans. In 2021, AENA paid over 37.1 million euros in tax to these municipal authorities. Terminals T1 and T2 are located in Prat de Llobregat, meaning that most of the business at this airport is done in this municipality. .

3. How does Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport contribute economically to Catalonia and in terms of current and future employment?

  • The AQR-Lab Applied Economics Laboratory at the University of Barcelona recently assessed the Economic Impact Study conducted on Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport. According to this study (based on 2018 data), the airport is responsible for 38,117 direct jobs (almost 40,000) and 218,181 jobs when looking at the bigger picture (73,807 excluding the catalysts), accounting for 6.8% of GDP in Catalonia%.
  • Evidence of the huge economic impact from the airport can be seen in the simple fact that developing the hub would create around 3,200 additional jobs per year.
  • Looking forward, the impact from the scheduled expansion works on airport infrastructure and the associated airport city once maximum airport capacity has been achieved (enabling it to become a major hub) would create around 83,080 direct jobs and 365,000 total jobs, accounting for 8.9% of GDP in Catalonia.

4. Where does this airport stand in terms of the main hubs in Europe? What connectivity does it offer? Which long-haul routes are operated here?

  • Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport posted an average annual traffic increase of 5.3% during the period 2000-2019, raising passenger numbers from 19.5 to 52.7 million over those 20 years and doubling its international traffic in the last decade.
  • In 2019, it was the sixth-largest airport in the European Union in terms of traffic volume. This position was maintained in 2020 despite the huge impact on traffic volume caused by the pandemic.
  • The airport offers extraordinary medium-haul connectivity to the city of Barcelona and surrounding areas (complemented by the other three airports of public interest managed by AENA in Catalonia):
    - 212 destinations in 2019, of which 165 are in Europe and 47 are intercontinental. 33 of the latter are long-haul (including 15 in North America, 6 in Latin America and 7 in Asia). Routes are also operated to 11 destinations in Africa and 7 in the Middle East.
    - 13 new long-haul routes were created between 2017 and 2019, of which 7 are to America and 6 to Asia.
  • Due to the increased number of routes, international traffic at the airport has practically more than doubled in nine years from 17.5 million passengers in 2010 to 38.6 million in 2019 (over 100,000 non-national passengers per day, approximately the population of Girona).
  • The area around Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport represents an almost perfect "breeding ground" for growth and connectivity improvement by attracting new routes. The appeal of Barcelona, and Catalonia in general, is one major factor. Another is the geographic location of Barcelona itself. It is equidistant between American and Asia and acts as a gateway to the rest of Europe and Africa, putting it in a prime position for intercontinental connections.
  • However, this is not enough for the continued improvement of long-haul connectivity: the area of influence of the airport itself cannot generate sufficient critical mass in terms of passenger numbers to justify new connections. Hence the option of becoming a major international hub that connects and acts as a link between different destinations.

5. Why should the airport be developed in spite of the reduction in traffic caused by the pandemic?

  • The decrease in activity caused by the pandemic has affected all major European airports equally (Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, Schiphol and Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas), with drops of between 70% and 80% in 2020.
  • Nonetheless, a cautious estimate suggests that pre-pandemic air traffic levels will be recovered in around 2025 or 2026. Hence the need to begin the long and complex expansion process now.

    Development proposal for AENA commercial airports in Catalonia.

6. Have the possible changes in business, trade show and conference flights been taken into consideration? What impact might teleworking have on future airport business?

  • Potential habit shifts and structural changes, such as teleworking, have been considered among the risks. Business travel might be affected in the short term due to the rise of certain technology tools that have enabled teleworking. However, a medium-term recovery is possible given that the ease with which we have been connected through advancements in digitalisation could also generate a need for more face-to-face meetings as soon as the circumstances surrounding the pandemic allow.

7. What future options are available to the airport depending on the chosen strategy?

  • The attractive and dynamic nature of the surrounding area in combination with a coordinated effort to promote this region overseas has transformed Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport into a European benchmark, not only in terms of traffic but also in terms of connectivity and quality of service. However, much work still remains if the goal is to consolidate the airport as a major intercontinental connection hub on a par with Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, Schiphol, Madrid or Frankfurt.
  • There are clearly several future scenarios and options that arise for Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport. Based on dialogue, AENA is willing to make the necessary effort to contribute towards the public interest as best it can.
  • One alternative would be to keep the airport just as it is now: a major “point-to-point” airport with few intercontinental connections. This first option requires no major action.
  • On the other hand, seemingly the most appropriate option for Barcelona and Catalonia would be to convert Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport into a first-rate intercontinental connection hub and consolidate its position as one of the main hubs - passenger and aircraft connection centres - in Europe. This action does require the Airport to reach the capacity it was designed for but, at the same time, maintain the runway use set up that minimises environmental noise. This would require significant, rather complex investments
  • It is very important to stress that any upgrade to the airport, which is located in natural surroundings of great wealth and unquestionable value and beauty, would be developed according to a plan that includes carefully designed actions aimed at minimising the impact on this environment.
  • Actions are required in highly specific areas to undertake the necessary airport developments, in particular:
    - Upgrade Airfield Capacity.
    - Upgrade Land side Capacity.
    - Convert the airport into a Sustainability Benchmark.
Development proposal for AENA commercial airports in Catalonia

8. What are the limitations on and possibilities for the airfield at this airport for hub operations?

  • If a decision is made to develop hub operations, and therefore boost long-haul connectivity, this development must be accompanied by actions that enable activity to be increased during peak periods. The full capacity provided for under the current Master Plan and authorised in the Environmental Impact Statement (90 operations/hour) must be available at peak activity times, rather than the capacity currently being used (80 movements/hour).
    This is essential for a hub airport, where short- and medium-haul "feed flight" traffic is concentrated alongside major intercontinental flights within short time frames based on the requirements and needs of major airline alliances.
  • Although the current Environmental Impact Statement recognises the independent use of the airport runways (enabling up to 90 operations per hour), the Environmental Oversight Committee for Expansion Works at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (CSAAB) agreed on the current dedicated use of the land side runway (07L-25R) and the seaside runway (07R-25L) for landings and take-offs, respectively, in 2006, with a "theoretical" airport capacity limit of 80 movements per hour. That agreement was reached with a commitment to maintain the same configuration for as long as this capacity increase was not necessary, thereby minimising noise impact on the environment.
    Under the current model, the long runway must be used for all departure operations involving the largest (wide body) long-haul aircraft. This interferes with landings and significantly affects capacity, mainly arrival operations. By maintaining current operations, and even more so when seeking an increase in long-haul wide bodies, it would not be possible to increase sustainable capacity in the airspace and therefore guarantee airfield capacity to handle the forecast demand in the medium-long term.
  • In other words, development of the hub would have to be accompanied by the necessary "airfield" capacity using either of the two feasible solutions:
    1. To use the two parallel runways independently, as they were designed and as contemplated in the Master Plan and the Environmental Impact Statement.
    This alternative would not require any significant works at the airfield and would not affect any protected natural areas. However, it would lead to a significant noise impact, mainly on the municipalities of Gavà and Castelldefels.
    2. To optimise the dedicated runway model: this would involve lengthening the seaside runway.
    This action has been debated extensively and would be an alternative to the independent use of the runways, eliminating the noise impact on Gavà and Castelldefels.
    Furthermore, this option has been discussed with the Port of Barcelona to make both developments compatible.
    This option requires abundant compensation, both on the ground and in respect of the other requirements demanded by the European regulations, for the impact that would be experienced the special protection areas of Laguna de la Ricarda and bordering areas included in the Natura 2000 Network.
  • All agents and stakeholders with ties to the airport need to be made aware of and agree on the reality of the situation and the existence of conflicting interests: the necessary care of the environment, natural surroundings and comfort levels in local towns and neighbourhoods; and the development of infrastructures, in particular the airport’s future goal (infrastructures, capacity and traffic). The common public interest should take precedence over any priority.
  • To this end, AENA has conducted the necessary studies and come up with a broad range of measures to improve airport sustainability that have already been explained to the stakeholders involved (the Regional Government of Catalonia, El Prat Local Council, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, Barcelona City Council and other affected municipal authorities).
  • The contribution of all l the institutions to these studies over the next few months will make the extension into an example of competitiveness and sustainability.
  • This would make it possible to absorb the activity peaks inherent to any major hub airport. These actions would be accompanied by the construction of a new Satellite Terminal, the creation of a new Airport City and the environmental actions that would enable the environment surrounding the infrastructure not only to be preserved but even improved.

9. Why can’t all aircraft models take off from the seaside runway (which is shorter)? Where do they take off from now?

  • Aircraft normally take off from the short runway and land on the long one.
  • The runway length needed for take-off depends on the following factors:
    - Aircraft weight on take off.
    - Ambient temperature (the hotter it is, the longer the runway needed) and wind speed.
    - Runway height above sea level.

    Therefore, the same aircraft model may need a different runway length depending on the cargo it is carrying, the volume of fuel on board and the local atmospheric conditions.
  • Aircraft that need a longer runway for take-off must use the runway that is used for landings, i.e., the long one. This is known as “non-preferential take off”. This involves reducing the number of landings so that the "non-preferential" long-haul aircraft can take off. This reduces arrivals capacity.
  • Non-preferential take-offs cannot be predicted because they depend on various factors. They cannot, therefore, be scheduled in the slot allocation process (times requested by the airlines) and they lead to a dysfunction in arrivals because capacity is reduced in order to make slot allocation options available. This dysfunction affects punctuality.

10. What technological and operational steps should be taken to achieve the 90 operations/hour authorised in the 2002 Environmental Impact Statement?

  • Ensure runway occupation times are under 50 seconds for arrivals. This enables the separation between arrivals to be reduced to 2.5 NM and was already implemented in 2021.
  • Optimise take-off runway access. To achieve this, improvements will be made to the runway holding strips for departure points 07R and 25L in order to add take-off order flexibility.
  • Optimise management of the Air Space around the Airport. For approaches (arrivals) and take-offs.
  • Eliminate the Non-Preferential Take-offs. It is particularly important to provide sufficient capacity at certain hours of the day and this is precisely when current use of the airfield provides the least capacity. The greatest demand and greatest presence of long-haul operations are concentrated into these hours and they are, therefore, the most important hours of the day for developing the hub strategy at the airport. Therefore, it would be necessary for all aircraft to be able to take off using the seaside runway and this is why it is proposed to extend it, as this would enable a capacity of 90 operations/hour to be reached on the airfield and maintain the current separate use of the runways, which minimises acoustic impact on the surroundings.

11. Which factors influence an airline’s decision to launch a long-haul route?

  • The decision by a long-haul airline to undertake the necessary investment of approximately 100 million euros to launch a direct route is based on the following factors:
    - the commercial timeslot (slot availability) should be attractive enough to bring in traffic to Barcelona.
    - the slot should enable arrival at the destination within the slot made available at the other airport or during the time frame of interest for connecting with other flights.
    - the airlines based at the airport that feed the route, such as the potential of Vueling at this airport given its excellent connectivity with the rest of Europe.
    - the air freight and business passenger markets should make the route profitable.
    - infrastructure at the terminal: contact positions (passenger bridges), suitable boarding zones, commercial offer, VIP lounges and passenger services.
  • Barcelona has many of these characteristics but also one encroaching issue: operational capacity was reaching its limit under the current runway operating model in 2019 given that the attractive commercial timeslot for these flights was approaching saturation. Due to market competitiveness, this means that airlines are deciding to opt for competitor European destinations, such as Berlin, Munich, Madrid, Vienna or Rome.

12. Why is there no need to build the Satellite Terminal if 90 operations/hour cannot be achieved? What sort of traffic would be served by the Satellite Terminal?

  • The "land side" developments would make no sense if the "air side" capacity problem at the airport cannot be resolved first. This is because current capacity at Terminals T1 and T2 is suitable for the capacity offered by the runways under the current operating model (approximately 80 operations/hour).
  • The arrivals capacity limitation stems from the non-preferential take-offs, i.e., the long-haul aircraft that need a longer runway length to take off than that provided by the “seaside” runway currently used for take-offs. The number of non-preferential take-offs that can be accepted on the arrivals runway is limited by the number of scheduled arrivals per hour. Long-haul development and any increase in arrivals is therefore limited.
  • Construction of a new satellite building would serve the intercontinental routes with the highest levels of safety and quality to enable the rapid connections needed for development by the airport.

13. Is long-haul growth important for the development of air freight?

  • Air freight activity at the airport serves companies that have boosted export business in recent years, as well as the growth in domestic demand. This helps ensure that the airport maintains a balance between incoming and outgoing freight flows, with each accounting for approximately 50%.
  • As regards the origin/destination of this air freight, it is essentially tied to intercontinental flights at present (accounting for over 69% of the total freight carried in 2019). It is precisely in this segment where the transportation of goods by air is more competitive than other means of transportation. In particular, and due to the location of the airport, air freight with an origin/destination in Europe has steadily tended towards road haulage transportation services.
  • Another factor that has impacted air freight in Barcelona is the existence of the RFS (Road Feeder Service) or the so-called air cargo trucking. This type of mixed air transport service covers part of the route with trucks up to the major European hubs and is then distributed by air to the final destination. Over 45,000 tonnes were carried via this method from the airport in 2019, despite the increase in direct connections. This would suggest that, were more direct intercontinental routes to become available, there would be clear potential for growth.
  • The fact that freight mainly travels (approximately 70% of the total) in the hold of passenger flights means that any direct flight service offer must include several flights per day in order to offer the necessary capacity for large deliveries or consignments, as well as the availability of multiple timeslots to guarantee delivery flexibility.
  • Textile is the main type of freight carried via the airport, both export and import, due to the supply chain model in the sector and the increase in online sales. Other growth sectors (mainly for imports) are high-value electronics and perishable goods.
  • With a focus on exports, and besides textile, the healthcare sector - with pharmaceutical products and essences and perfumes - is worth noting due to the large presence of related manufacturing companies in Catalonia.

14. What measures are implemented by the Llobregat Delta Airport on the coastal land it owns?

  • AENA engages in pine grove forestry activities.
  • It looks for the presence of any external flora or fauna that could threaten native species and removes it if found.
  • It encourages bird nesting by installing nest boxes.
  • It maintains drainage channels, both in the delta and along the coast.
  • It extracts water from coastal wells to prevent saline intrusion into the delta.

15. What would the New Llobregat Delta Natural Areas be like?

  • The particular surroundings of this airport lend it special value. Its location at the mouth of the river Llobregat, amid various protected natural areas in the Natura 2000 Network, make it an airport that is required to engage in more efforts than usual to protect that natural wealth and achieve a sustainable balance between environmental targets and the targets linked to proper airport management.
  • From an environmental point of view, the airport is located at the mouth of the river Llobregat. Various environmental protection statuses have been declared for this delta system, including the Llobregat Delta ZEC (Special Area of Conservation) and the Llobregat ZEPA (Special Protection Area for Birds) of the Natura 2000 Network.
  • The protection of spaces within the Natura 2000 Network is governed at a European level by Directive 92/43/EEC, of 21 May 1992, on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive). At a Spanish State level, it is governed by Spanish Law 42/2007, of 13 December, on natural heritage and biodiversity. European Commission rulings on approvals granted for compensatory measures in projects involving the Natura Network.
  • The Habitats Directive establishes the obligation for Member States to adopt measures aimed at preventing the deterioration of natural habitats within special conservation areas, as well as any changes impacting the species for which the area was designated.
  • However, should a plan or project need to be undertaken within the boundaries of these areas, its repercussions will be subject to an assessment that considers the conservation targets for the area. If, despite the conclusions in the assessment of repercussions on the area, and in the absence of alternative solutions, the plan or project must be undertaken for overriding reasons of public interest of the highest order (including social and economic reasons), the Member State must take all the compensatory measures needed to guarantee protection for the overall cohesion of Natura 2000. The Member State must inform the European Commission of the compensatory measures it has adopted.
  • AENA has prepared an extensive initial proposal of compensatory measures for consultation, based on the conservation targets for the area. This will continue to be updated according to the best scientific criteria.

    Compensatory measures proposed by AENA.
  • In order to reach the necessary consensus with the region, this initial proposal has already been presented to the local council authorities, the Regional Government of Catalonia and the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge.
  • Alongside the corresponding infrastructure expansion works, AENA has planned various measures to improve the rich natural environment around the airport. These include:
    - Restoration and compensation of habitats with new habitats to a ratio greater than 1:10 (compensation of 10 hectares for each hectare impacted) and in the same area as the one impacted.
    - Promotion of spatial cohesion by fostering connectivity and, therefore, genetic exchange between populations based on the conservation targets of the area.
    - Areas adjacent to the Llobregat Delta ZEC with which to support and provide cohesion to the area, while also attempting to improve internal connectivity within the area.
    - Protection and improvement of the status of protected species within the area.
    - Improvement of the habitats and species present within the impacted area: removal of invasive exotic vegetation from pine grove undergrowth and the coastline; monitoring and improved function of the quality of aquatic ecosystems; creation of terrain depressions in coastal pine groves for the recovery of native vegetation; and the production of a vegetation map in the new compensation areas.
  • In short, the actions to develop Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport would be accompanied by the creation of a New Llobregat Delta Natural Area (equivalent to 20% of the size of Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l’Empordà), increasing the area subject to protection by over 25%, going far beyond the mere restoration and compensation of impacted areas (1:10 compensation), promoting the improvement of existing habitats and species and fostering cohesion for the area, as well as guaranteeing its future conservation.

    The new natural areas to be created would be located in the Viladecans area or in the Viladecans and El Prat area, depending on the solution eventually decided upon in coordination with the Regional Government of Catalonia and the local council authorities, in order to provide continuity to the existing Natura Network by recreating lagoons in the new areas to encourage biodiversity. The two areas being proposed are located near the Remolar-Filipinas areas, where the visitors’ centre run by the Consorci per a la Protecció del Delta currently stands. The other area is located near Ca l’Arana i Cal Tet.

    However, AENA is open to considering other actions in the Llobregat Delta Area that may be proposed by the regional authorities, provided they can be considered as compensatory measures.

    It is important to highlight the role to be played by AENA and, in particular, Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport as future guarantors and overseers of the conservation and respect for this natural environment of extraordinarily high ecological value. 

16. What procedures and approvals must be followed before commencing works? When should the works commence to avoid saturating the Airport?

  • The schedule of investment activities must be included in the 2022- 2026 Airport Regulation Document (DORA), which establishes the terms and conditions that will be binding on AENA in terms of infrastructures, airport investments, airport service provision quality and setting the curve for change in maximum annual revenue per passenger.
  • According to Spanish Law 18/2014, of 15 October, approving urgent measures for growth, competitiveness and efficiency, the legal deadline for approving this 2022-2026 DORA is 30 September 2021. ​

    See the processing schedule on slides 52 and 53 of the presentation entitled Future of Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport. Aena Technical Boards_2021.
  • Although the impact of the pandemic is delaying the need to increase capacity at the airport, the new DORA II (2022- 2026) must include a draft definition of projects and indicate a date for the start of works for the new satellite terminal and runway extension.
  • Support for the project from the institutions involved is essential for obtaining a favourable decision from the European Commission.
  • If the necessary procedures and actions are not planned and started on time, airport infrastructures would be very close to saturation point when traffic recovers (around 2026). Entry into service of the expansion would therefore be delayed from 2031 to 2036 due to the legal schedules governing the regulatory system applicable to the airports network.
  • Once approved, the DORA will force AENA to begin carrying out the actions according to the schedule defined by the Master Plan. Given that all the necessary actions would require approval in a new Master Plan, this must be approved before they can begin in order to provide the necessary coverage for implementation.
- The requirement for approval of a new Master Plan stems from the need to provide coverage for the new works (new satellite building, T1 connection, airfield, etc.). It must be approved before the works begin (2025).

- Following the amendment to Spanish Royal Decree 2591/98, and as a result of the necessary Strategic Environmental Assessment on plans and programmes required under Spanish Law 21/2013 on environmental assessment, the approval of airport Master Plans needs long processing periods.

- In reality, the long processing period is fundamentally due to the strategic environmental assessment of the Master Plan imposed by Spanish Law 21/2013 on environmental assessment. This is more due to the impact on the Natura Network in the case of Barcelona, as stated below, by the application of Spanish Law 42/2007 on natural heritage and biodiversity.

- In Barcelona, the impact on the Natura 2000 Network makes the processing period even more complicated: the European Commission must be consulted and approval obtained from the Council of Ministers.
  • Therefore, AENA should begin processing the new Airport Master Plan as soon as possible and this would provide a suitable framework of reference for the planning process, enabling cohesive development for the airport with both medium- and long-term outlooks, guaranteeing an ability to meet future demand and avoiding negative impacts on its environment, especially the Llobregat Delta Natural Area.
  • This would be accompanied by a consultation stage to launch the sectoral processing and strategic environmental assessment procedures for this proposed revision of the Master Plan, with the local authorities taking part. This is expected to involve a long process as it depends on various different bodies.

17. Would operating as a hub airport be possible without developing Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport and using Reus Airport or Girona-Costa Brava Airport instead?

  • A hub airport is a centre for passenger connections between flights that connect at the same airport.
  • A hub airport must be able to offer rapid connections for both passengers and their luggage. Having this system supported by two or more airports is simply unworkable, regardless of how fast the rail or road connections may be.
  • There is no airport hub anywhere in the world that consists of more than one airport, where passengers arrive at one and then travel by train to another for a connection with their next flight. Luggage management would not be workable either due to the aircraft-airport-train-airport-aircraft process that would be involved.
  • Furthermore, a passenger arriving from an international origin and connecting with another international flight (e.g. Morocco-Barcelona-USA) would need a visa to enter the country for a rail connection.
  • All these factors would mean operating at a disadvantage to other hub airports.

18. Would it be possible to operate a hub with long-distance feed by rail? What capacity would be freed up if flight journeys with a high-speed rail alternative of less than 3 hours were excluded?

  • 1.4% of traffic in 2019 at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport would have a 3-hour or less railway alternative when the Mediterranean Corridor becomes operational.
  • 5% of traffic in 2019 at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport is accounted for by Madrid-Barcelona flights, which already have a 3-hour railway alternative.
  • Only 6.4% of traffic in 2019 would therefore be excluded.
  • 70% of connecting passengers in 2019 at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport came from outside the Iberian Peninsula, meaning they could not travel by train to reach the long-distance feed radius so rail could not function as a long-distance feed source.

19. Is intermodality with rail important?

  • At Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, a new railway connection to Terminal T1 is currently under construction. Furthermore, it will be capable of serving shuttle services between the airport terminals and the main stations in the city for the Madrid-Barcelona-French Border High-Speed Line. This will connect both terminals to Barcelona, creating a journey time between Sants Station and Terminal T1 of approximately 19 minutes, with an additional stop at the newly built T2 station.

20. Does future passenger growth up to 70 million passengers refer to a final destination in the city of Barcelona and its Metropolitan Area?

  • Hub development requires “windows” in which short and medium-haul flights feed long-haul flights. In other words, it is strongly geared towards connecting traffic, passengers who will not create pressure on the territory but will make it possible to open new long-haul routes that the airport’s area of influence, as an origin or destination, would not have sufficient “critical mass” to operate.
  • In 2019, connecting passengers we close to 10%. This figure has grown along with the number of long-haul routes and increased agreements between airlines outside traditional alliances.
  • JT Barcelona - El Prat is Europe’s airport with the best connections with other European airports, giving it an advantage for attracting long-haul flights that will later serve the rest of Europe with connecting flights.

21. What does complementarity with Girona-Costa Brava Airport and Reus Airport mean?

  • It is important to highlight the importance of Girona-Costa Brava Airport and Reus Airport, for both AENA and Catalonia. There is no major tourist destination in the world that does not have its own major airport. Almost three million people used these two airports in 2019 and they are obviously essential components of the country’s economic fabric. That’s why AENA continues to invest in their future development.
  • These airports have their own growth plans but they do not contribute to development of the hub, although they do complement it. AENA believes it makes sense to develop all three airports in a coordinated fashion while respecting regulations and market logic. Girona-Costa Brava Airport and Reus Airport will absorb the “point-to-point” traffic (both new traffic and traffic the airlines wish to relocate voluntarily). Furthermore, they are of great importance to their own areas of influence and are necessary for serving "key" tourist destinations like the Costa Brava, Costa Daurada and the Terres de l’Ebre.
  • The guarantee of connectivity for Girona-Costa Brava Airport that stems from the high-speed rail network and scheduled improvement and expansion works, both in the terminal and on the apron, will enable a search for more connections, airline diversification and reduced seasonality. Following the partnership protocol signed between ADIF and AENA in 2019, the Government of Spain tendered an Informative Study on the New High-Speed Railway Station at Girona-Costa Brava Airport in January 2021. This station will make Girona-Costa Brava one of the first airports in the AENA network to have its own station on the high-speed railway line.
  • These works are scheduled to begin at the end of the next regulatory period (2022-2026) and also include some major investments to improve operational safety by upgrading the airfield, as well as the safety of goods and people.
  • Reus Airport has undergone a process of expansion and renovation, the main aspect of which was the work to expand the Terminal Building that was opened recently. This work has provided the airport with modern, functional infrastructures that offer the highest levels of service quality and increased capacity.
  • Major investments are scheduled for Reus Airport to improve operational safety during the next regulatory period (2022-2026), including upgrades to the runway and apron. It is also worth noting the scheduled investments to renovate the hold baggage screening system.

22. Can an airline be forced to operate at a specific airport? How does slot allocation work?

  • Airlines cannot be forced to transfer their operations from one airport to another because they hold historic rights recognised under a European Union Regulation. Furthermore, some airlines have also shown clear signs of their preference to operate from Barcelona in the past, despite the large difference in charges levied at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, Girona-Costa Brava Airport and Reus Airport. One example of this is when Ryanair chose to relocate from Girona-Costa Brava Airport to Barcelona Airport after T1 was opened, in spite of the increase in the costs involved for the airline.
  • The allocation of slots is made by AECFA, an independent body of AENA. AECFA applies slot allocation criteria based on the EU Regulation that establishes allocation priorities and criteria based on available capacity.
  • Slots are allocated for arrivals and departures in time slots based on available capacity, trying to ensure that the allocated time is as close as possible to the time requested by the airline.
  • Airlines request a slot while considering availability at the airport of origin or destination. If the destination operates as a hub, connection times at the hub airport are also key to offering the largest number of destinations to passengers on that route via connecting flights.

23. What is stated in the letter of formal notice from the European Commission on the previous airport expansion?

  • The letter of formal notice will need to be resolved by taking the actions considered to be most appropriate in the joint analysis by all stakeholders in the Delta, given the numerous infrastructures that co-exist there (Port, Airport, Roads, Treatment Plants, etc.), the urban development of the area and the co-existing activities, such as farming.
  • Given that the compensatory measures for the Airport Expansion were completed correctly, as shown in the CSAAB (Barcelona Airport Environmental Monitoring Committee) minutes, the measures from the operational stage will be analysed by all members of the CSAAB to find out whether any additional actions are needed.

24. What is the volume of CO2 emissions from air transport in Europe?

  • The aviation sector in Europe accounts for 4% of total GHG emissions and approximately 14.4% of such emissions in the transport sector when including all means of transport.
Check here for emissions data.

25. Is air quality acceptable in the area around JT Barcelona-El Prat Airport?

  • At a local level, the airport controls air quality by monitoring the atmospheric pollution levels in emissions. To do so, it has four environmental air quality control and measurement stations. These stations automatically measure concentrations of the following pollutants: carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and monoxide, ozone and benzene. It also carries out manual particulate measurement campaigns (PM10, lead and PM2.5). The stations are located in the airport and at strategic points in the surrounding area (in Gavà, El Prat and Viladecans). Those located outside the airport form part of the Environmental Control Surveillance Network of the Regional Government of Catalonia, which can be contacted to consult past measurements.
  • To date, no measurements have been recorded above the thresholds defined by the regulations applicable to the pollutants measured at these stations.

26. Does the airport have a Sustainability Plan? What does the AENA Climate Action Plan cover?

  • The airport has a Sustainability Plan that follows the master lines of the AENA Plan. Part of the plan is under way right now and another part will be tied to the actions scheduled in the Master Plan. For example, work is under way to implement hydrogen technology in the electricity generators at one of the power plants.
  • Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport has already risen from Level 2 to Level 3 - “Optimisation” - in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, [certificado otorgado por el Consejo Internacional de Aeropuertos (ACI)] which, besides having an emissions reduction and management programme, implies involving third parties and assessing their emissions. This certification was awarded, among other reasons, due to the carbon footprint reduction achieved by the airport under a gradual replacement plan for the fleet of vehicles powered by fossil fuels with electric equipment, as well as other actions for continuous improvement of energy resource consumption.
  • Furthermore, a significant investment is planned for the production of solar photovoltaic energy in order to achieve CO2 neutrality in 2026 (produced by the airport) and a "Net Zero Carbon Emissions" status in 2040 for the network as a whole.
  • Implementation of the Solar Power Plan at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport will provide 12.52 MWp to the airport (currently in the project draft stage). This plan will lead to 100% self-supply for renewable electricity across the AENA network. At present, all the electricity consumed by AENA comes with a renewable source guarantee.
    Click here to see the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport Sustainability Plan
  • Carbon neutrality forms part of the main strategic objective included in the AENA 2021-2030 Climate Action Plan, which includes actions to offset the effects of climate change. These actions will enable AENA to achieve carbon neutrality in 2026 and, on the way to achieving Net Zero in 2040, a 94% reduction in emissions per passenger associated with AENA operations will be obtained in 2030.
  • Organised into three strategic programmes (Carbon Neutrality, Sustainable Aviation and Community & Sustainable Value Chain), the AENA Climate Action Plan makes clear and tangible commitments to reducing emissions, using sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), charging points, connections with the city, boosting research, etc. with an investment budget of more than 500 million euros. It includes annual targets, available budget and transparency with an annual exercise in accountability, representing a benchmark for companies and institutions.

27. What is SAF? Will hydrogen be used for aircraft propulsion?

  • SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) is an aviation fuel that reduces emissions and is compatible with current aircraft technology
  • SAF has been available since July 2021 at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport and Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport.
  • Aircraft manufacturers are working on hydrogen propulsion systems as this will be the next step on for using SAF.

28. What is the Airport City? What synergies exist between the Airport City and the hub?

  • The Airport City is developed “land side” and is a response to the needs expressed by local stakeholders for space to be used in logistics activities and passenger services, etc.
  • The intended uses will be tied to air freight, hangars, passenger services, logistics, offices and corporate headquarters, as well as a zone integrating into the El Prat residential zone, enhancing common spaces and sustainable construction and mobility.
  • Development is planned over 20 years and will be closely tied to development of the hub given that the appeal for potential companies will significantly depend on airport connectivity.
  • The project will have urban and environmental sustainability guarantees as these factors are being planned from the outset.
  • The local council authorities, AMB and the Regional Government of Catalonia are involved in development of the Airport City regarding Planning matters and Sustainability criteria.

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