Monday, 24 April 2023
Flights to and from Andalucía are expected to increase dramatically this summer and the region's airports are expected to witness an increase in aircraft movements greater than either Spain's Canary or Balearic Islands.
President of the Association of Airlines (ALA), Javier Gándara said Malaga Airport was expected to drive a lot of the growth in travel to Andalusian destinations and forecast 14% more seats to fly to and from the Costa del Sol during the high season, than during the record year of 2019.
Gándara pointed out that Malaga's popularity was not only linked to holiday and urban tourism, but also that of business travellers.
ALA data, updated as of 14 April, put the number of seats available for travel to and from Andalusian airports this summer at almost 25.6 million, which was 8.2% more than in the record season of 2019 and almost one point more than the growth forecast by airlines in the Canary Islands.
"Andalucía, the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands are growing more because of the country's success as a tourist destination. In addition, these regions have a model that is not just sun and sand. We expect this trend to continue," Gándara said. In contrast, forecasts for Madrid and Barcelona were still below pre-crisis levels.
Gándara said interest from the American markets, particularly United Airlines' commitment to open a new direct connection with Malaga this summer contributed to the predictions. Gándara was confident that this summer would not see issues as in the previous high season such as long queues at passport control or flight cancellations.
"Spain as a destination is responding very well to the level of traffic. The rest of European airports worry us. There are saturated infrastructures such as Amsterdam. We hope we are wrong, but this summer there may be problems at European airports,” he said.
"Spain is the country most affected by the air traffic controllers' strike in France, which is causing delays and cancellations. And the most worrying thing is that 90% of the delayed operations do not originate or terminate in French airports, but are over flights in French airspace," he added.
Gándara also warned of an increase in ticket prices, but did not estimate by how much. He urged airlines to keep fares affordable for everyone at a time when "there is a great desire to go on holiday".
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