An end in sight to second runway's TV obstacle at Malaga airport

A plane approaches the runway behind the TV mast.
A plane approaches the runway behind the TV mast. / ÑITO SALAS
  • Aena has begun the legal proceedings to reduce the height of the tower below the Canal Sur aerial so planes can take off and land from the southern end of the runway

Canal Sur, the TV arm of the Andalusian broadcaster RTVA, is going to have to lower the height of the communications mast at its Malaga studio so that the airport’s second runway can become fully operational.

Since the runway was opened in the summer of 2012, only the northern end has been used for takeoffs and landings because the height of various structures the other side of the N-340 highway could make the approach or departure difficult from the southern end.

To allow planes to land and take off in both directions, which would bring the second runway in line with the first, the Civil Aviation authority is now in the process of the forced expropriation of four structures standing on three plots of land to the south of the airport and the N-340.

One is the skeleton of a private building, 18.7 metres high, that has been left partly finished for years. It will have to be lowered by 0.79 metres.

The others are two advertising hoardings. One is 21.3 metres high and will have to be lowered by 8.28 metres, and the other is the Radio Televisión de Andalucía hoarding, which needs to be 2.34 metres lower.

The third obstacle is the tower which supports the Canal Sur antenna, which at 42.37 metres is 17.7 metres too high for the Civil Aviation authority’s purposes.

Although the list of obstacles has only just been released to the public, so those affected can register objections if they so wish, it is known that Aena and RTVA have been negotiating about this matter for months.

According to sources at Canal Sur, the Spanish airport operator Aena will pay the costs of reducing the height of the tower the aerial stands on. This will not affect broadcasts because the Malaga antenna is only used for auxiliary services. They have now found a solution so that Canal Sur broadcasts in Malaga will not be affected at all by the works or the reduction in the height of the antenna.

The Civil Aviation authority, whose decision to expropriate the structure was officially published this week, pointed out that Malaga airport has had two runways since 2012 to facilitate air traffic flow, and the idea was to use one for arrivals and one for departures. However, the obstacles close to the southern end of the second runway are making it impossible for planes to take off or land from there. Sources at Aena say that the expropriation is necessary not because it is urgent and needed now, but with a view to the future because of the progressive increase in air traffic at the airport.

Planning for the future

The legal proceedings consist of imposing a restriction on the privately owned buildings and other elements which are affecting flights, so the 12-30 runway, as it is known, can be available for use at any time. Cabinet ministers also had to give their agreement to the plan before it could go ahead.

The second runway at Malaga airport, which is 2,759 metres long and has room for 27 stationary planes, came into service in June 2012 after an investment of 624 million euros. Initially it was only used at weekends in the summer months to enable the main runway to operate efficiently.

As the airport has become increasingly busy, the second runway has been used more and since April 2018 it has been in use almost continually.