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File image of queues at the check-in desks at Malaga Airport. SUR
Andalucía: the region where the fastest-growing airports in Spain are to be found this summer, although there are warnings for some dark clouds on the horizon
Air travel

Andalucía: the region where the fastest-growing airports in Spain are to be found this summer, although there are warnings for some dark clouds on the horizon

Malaga Airport alone, which accounts for almost 70% of passengers arriving by air to the region, is preparing for another record season with 20 million seats offered by the airlines and 11% more scheduled operations than last year

Pilar Martínez

Malaga

Wednesday, 17 April 2024, 17:29

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If the first quarter of 2024 has been record-breaking, then summer will be the next record-breaker. Spain's national airline association (ALA), the leading organisation for the air transport sector in the country handling 85% of air traffic, forecasts 240 million seats to be on offer from April to October 2024, some 13.5% more than in the high season of 2023.

ALA further suggests the increases will be higher still in Andalucía and the Canary Islands - 14% more seats. "The air traffic figures that we have been recording so far this year and the data indicating a very good summer confirm that passengers really want to travel and we are confident that we will set a new high this summer season," said Javier Gándara, ALA president. "The data for summer season invite optimism and we anticipate a record year, continuing the optimistic outlook from the first quarter of the year, where there has been an accumulated growth in passenger numbers of 13.2% over the previous year," he said.

Gándara presents his summer forecast for the airline industry.
Gándara presents his summer forecast for the airline industry. SUR

Malaga Airport alone, which accounts for almost 70% of passengers arriving by air to Andalucía, is preparing for another record summer with 20 million seats offered by the airlines and 11% more scheduled operations than last year. In addition, the province will be connected with direct flights to 136 cities around the world, with an extensive strengthening of much-sought-after routes such as New York. The region has also set up more and different ports of call around the Middle East, demonstrating that the province is consolidating its ventures into travel markets further afield.

Dark clouds on the horizon

However, Gándara pointed to some dark clouds on the horizon that could affect this good performance. Among them, he cites the geopolitical situation after Iran's attack on Israel, which could provoke an escalation of the conflict, fluctuations in fuel prices - now on the rise, and how things might go in different economies regarding inflation and possible economic downturns, even recession. Add to these points the risk factors that could alter the smooth running of air traffic in Spain. "In particular, and more specifically in the European scenario, the high season could be impacted by air traffic control strikes in France, which could lead to cancellations, delays and a drop in punctuality," he said. He then called for "the need for the European Commission to demand that our Gallic neighbour protects flights crossing French airspace to spare our flight disruptions, as these are the most affected by air traffic control strikes in France, and to avoid the additional CO2 emissions caused by strike action".

In this regard Spain is the country most affected by these strikes, after France of course. As an example: "To be precise, the continuous stoppages in French air traffic control throughout 2023, with particularly intense strike action between February and May, affected almost 4% of flights in Spain. Almost 86,000 flights (85,973 operations) have been delayed or cancelled due to stoppages in French air traffic control, causing an average delay of 24 minutes for each flight".

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