File image of the check-in desks at Malaga Airport. Migue Fernández
Malaga Airport climbs above Canary Island rival to become third-busiest for passenger numbers in Spain
Air travel

Malaga Airport climbs above Canary Island rival to become third-busiest for passenger numbers in Spain

The dizzying rate of growth last month allowed the gateway to the Costa del Sol to soar above the popular winter destination of Gran Canaria in the latest rankings

Monday, 12 February 2024, 14:07


Malaga Airport started 2024 as it ended the previous one, with a sharp increase in fliers passing through the gateway to the Costa del Sol. If the first month of 2023 saw 1,120,167 passengers pass through its terminals, in January it surpassed this historic figure to reach 1,344,443, a growth of 20% compared to the same period last year.

This dizzying rate of growth, which is double the national average, has enabled Malaga Airport to overtake Gran Canaria airport and become the third busiest airport in Spain in terms of passenger volume, according to airpport operator Aena data. Traditionally, the Costa del Sol airport is in fourth place in the network, with Gran Canaria ahead in the winter months and Palma de Mallorca in the summer season.

It is worth remembering that the strong surge in passenger numbers experienced by Malaga last year in January was the prelude to a year that became the best in the airport's history and in which the mythical barrier of 20 million passengers was reached in October, ending the year with more than 22 million. Expectations for 2024 already point to consolidating this upward trend and registering new growth.

This increased activity was also noticeable on the runways of the Costa del Sol airport, where 10,330 flights operated, 14.5% more than in January 2023. However, in terms of operations Malaga remains the fourth in the Aena network, preceded by Madrid, with 31,617 and a 4.2% increase compared to 2023, followed by Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat, with 23,614 flights, a 12.8% increase, and Gran Canaria, with 11,446, a 3.6% increase.

Aena highlights the strength of international traffic and points out that "most of the users counted travelled on commercial flights, totalling 1,340,008. Of these, 267,904 travelled on aircraft to or from a Spanish city, 6.7% more than in January 2023. The rest, 1,072,104, opted for connections abroad, an increase of 24%".

As for the markets that are driving this take-off, Aena details that, with greater demand in absolute terms, the British market is consolidating its leadership, with 250,185 passengers, and, some distance behind, the Dutch (94,532), German (94,430), Italian (72,821) and French (61,264).

Aircraft movements in Spain

Aena pointed out that "the airports in the network in Spain have closed the first month of 2024 with an all-time record number of passengers and cargo in the month of January, thus maintaining the upward trend of much of last year". The airport operator pointed out that the all the airports they manage handled 18,667,212 passengers, 10.3% more than in the same month of 2023; managed 165,909 aircraft movements, 6% more than the previous year; and 91,752 tonnes of goods were moved, 23.1% more than last year.

Of the total number of passengers passing through Spanish airports in January 2024, some 18,601,093 were commercial passengers: 12,144,917 travelled on international flights, 13.2% more than in January 2023, while 6,456,176 travelled on domestic flights, 5.3% more than last year.

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