Aena, the Spanish airport authority, have set out five new entrances for vehicles to access the ‘express’ car park at Malaga airport, which is located outside terminals two and three, after finalising the work to the road outside departures.
However, rather than alleviating congestion, as was intended, the change caused extended queues which reached such a length that security eventually lifted the barriers at the car park’s entrance completely.
The express car park was originally created to facilitate the dropping off process with 300 parking spaces, where drivers can park for free, for up to 15 minutes. There are five entrances and seven exits to the car park which were installed in order to avoid jams like the one seen on Tuesday. However, if drivers stay longer than 15 minutes, they have to pay for the full duration of their stay, which has been a cause of confusion for some, and has meant that the new changes have led to more disruption.
Aena reiterates that the new system has been designed to complement the reorganisation of all the roads surrounding the airport’s terminals, after last summer saw frequent tailbacks. The authority also insists that the system, similar to those employed at Alicante and Bilbao airports, overall makes the dropping off process easier, and accept that the barriers may have to be lifted occasionally, like they were on Tuesday, when there is heavy traffic flow.
However, the new system has received a lot of criticism, most notably from many car hire companies whose customers are forced to use this system too. Félix Pinar, president of the association of car hire businesses in Andalucía, described the queues on Tuesday as “worrying”, considering it was only a week day, which does not bode well for the high season. “Our clients were ringing us worried that they would miss their flight and so just left the cars anywhere they could. This situation is unheard of for an airport like Malaga’s, we are creating a very bad impression,” he complained.