View of the plot of land in El Pinillo that is the proposed site for Marbella’s heliport. :: JOSELE-LANZA
Tourists with high spending power who arrive at Malaga airport and would rather avoid the road journey to Marbella; wealthy Arabs who travel to Jerez to ride the pure bred horses which are brought over for the holiday months in Marbella; thrill seekers keen to see the Costa del Sol resort from the air. All these are current visitors to Marbella and thus potential customers for the heliport that the town hall is keen to build on a piece of land beside El Pinillo beach.
The construction project was created with the objective of increasing ease of travel for Marbella citizens, its visitors (by establishing connections with Malaga airport and other cities) as well as serving as a base for maritime rescue operations, fire control and air ambulance services.
Two years ago the council left all the paperwork and permissions necessary for a scheme of this kind in the hands of developers Proconsol, specialists in the field.
With all the relevant documents forwarded, the Environment Minister has issued a statement that pronounces favorably on the project in terms of its environmental impact.
The notice recognises that the scheme, which will occupy a space of just under 6000 square metres, will not affect any area protected by Natura 2000 (an EU wide network of nature protection areas). Noise levels are deemed acceptable (as long as there are a maximum of seven flights a week and the entrance and departure of helicopters is over the sea). Flora and fauna will be protected, as will an identified embryonic moving sand dune. The Culture Department of the Junta de Andalucía has no registered archaeological interest in the zone. In conclusion, the statement says that the Environment Department “has no objection to the installation of the heliport”.
So, with a favorable response from the government, the project is starting to take shape. Now it only lacks permission from the ‘Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aérea’ (AESA or state air security authorities).
While the promoter of the scheme is Marbella town hall, there are several ways of running the site under discussion. One of these means the council being in charge of carrying out the works and authorising the use of the heliport for various operators. Others involve the appointment of an administrative group which would both build and run the site .
The future heliport of El Pinillo, right beside the sea, will have a takeoff and landing zone of 24.4 metres in diameter and be made of reinforced concrete. It will be made up of space to park four helicopters, four huts for staff, a cafeteria and a parking zone. The operating hours are planned to be from 7am to 7pm.
At the moment Marbella council has not given an exact date for the heliport to go ahead and it is still putting together the terms of the tender it is obliged to release for the scheme. It needs the final permission from AESA.