Huge visitor numbers put airport and other travel hubs to the test

The busy arrivals area at Malaga Airport on Wednesday.
The busy arrivals area at Malaga Airport on Wednesday. / M. Fernández
  • The peak period from 27 July to 6 August will see 865,000 air passengers, and rail and coach stations report a similar story, despite a small fall in UK visitor numbers

The Costa del Sol's transport infrastructure is facing its biggest test of the year. Between the start of last weekend and the end of this weekend, Malaga province is coping with the arrival and departure of more than one million passengers, according to data supplied by the operators of the different transport hubs.

Owner of Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, Aena, has said there isn't one particular day that stands out and it defines the peak period as the eleven days running from last Friday, 27 July, to next Monday, 6 August. This Saturday, 4 August, they are expecting 513 takeoffs and landings, involving some 85,500 passengers. In the entire eleven-day period being monitored, 865,000 people will arrive or depart on 5,188 flights.

However Aena added that, while historically July and August have been the peak months, recently June and September have been catching up as well.

At Malaga's mainline station, María Zambrano, state train operator Renfe has said it is doubling the length of many of its trains, and on the high-speed AVE line to and from Madrid it expects to carry 87,000 passengers from 27 July to 5 August.

At Malaga city's coach station, companies have added 50 per cent more seats. Since last Saturday the average daily passenger numbers are reaching 25,000 and on Wednesday the figures reached 50,000.

Hoteliers on the Costa del Sol are predicting an 80 per cent occupancy in the area for all of August and a 4 per cent increase on 2017, equivalent to 2.7 million overnight stays. The local tourist board said that international visitors from less traditional markets are growing, making up for a slight decline in arrivals from large traditional markets like Britain and Germany, because of resorts in Turkey, Greece and Tunisia coming back into fashion.