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Laura Rosales and María José Cuenda at Malaga Airport. SUR
Malaga Airport hopes new premium service for top-end passengers will take off as plans for hotel mooted
Air travel

Malaga Airport hopes new premium service for top-end passengers will take off as plans for hotel mooted

The air travellers who use the new exclusive service will not have to queue for check-in and will pass through a private security checkpoint

Pilar Martínez

Malaga

Wednesday, 10 April 2024, 11:21

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Malaga Airport is not only growing in passenger numbers, but is also preparing to take a major leap forward in the services it offers, particularly to top-end passengers. Aena's director general for commercial and real estate María José Cuenda has announced Malaga Airport will launch a new "premium" personalised service for flyers looking to speed through the Costa del Sol facility. The service will include the offer to check-in baggage, pass through private security checkpoints and gain access to exclusive lounges while waiting for boarding.

Cuenda said the passenger who books the service will be picked up at the hotel or at a meeting point of their choice to be transferred to the airport where they will be accompanied to the premium lounge and go through a private security check. Baggage check-in will be carried out by service staff. In the premium lounge, a catering service can also be requested. "This is a new alternative that fits well with the profile of travellers who do not want to be noticed such as artists, singers, football teams, but it is also intended for passengers with high purchasing power who want a more comfortable and exclusive experience at the airport," Cuenda said.

The new premium service has been tendered jointly for several airports in the Aena network. In addition to Malaga Airport, it will also be implemented at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas, Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Valencia and Seville airports. Ambaar is the company awarded the contract, registered nationally under the name Ground Services Spain Aeroportuario, which specialises in the management of VIP lounges and personalised premium services.

This new service in Malaga will be located in Terminal 3 and will provide personalised services for both departing and arriving passengers. The passenger will have a private boarding passage, transfer to the premium lounge and accompaniment to the aircraft, which will be optional and only for passengers on Schengen zone flights.

In the case of a passenger arriving at the airport, the passenger will be accompanied and transferred from the aircraft to the terminal, an exclusive screening, a stay in the premium lounge and baggage handling and collection. As an additional service, the passenger is accompanied on departure to the tax free zone. Cuenda said prices of the premium service for select passengers range from 200 to 600 euros.

Second VIP lounge

As part of the service, Cuenda said a second VIP lounge is already being considered at Malaga Airport following a 30% increase in demand for the current one over the past year. Cuenda said: "this is a medium-term project in view of the high growth of the service. We are confident that it will be operational in a couple of years". The current VIP lounge was previously extended in 2017 by almost 300 metres to 2,230 square metres. It can seat up to 400 people.

The new lounge is planned for the non-Schengen area, after passport control in departures. "It will allow us to better segment customers and tailor the offer of each lounge to the needs and tastes of passengers. The dimensions will be similar to the current one," she added.

Cuenda pointed out "the profile of the passengers in Malaga is becoming more high-value", adding this is confirmed by the fact that the business class of private flights increased by 20% in 2023. "Everything that happens in the destination is reflected in this infrastructure and there is an increasing demand for this type of personalised service. We have to adapt the facilities to the increasing number of five-star passengers," Cuenda added.

Aena includes Malaga among the five airports in Spain that will have a hotel

It was last January when Aena activated the tender to design a strategic plan for five major airports in Spain to have hotels. Malaga Airport is one of the infrastructures in which the public company plans to incorporate such a project, along with those of Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Valencia. The consultancy firm Catella, a European company with expertise in the real estate investment market, is in charge of developing this strategy after being selected in this process. The task ahead is to define this strategic development plan, from the concept of these new assets to the search for the operators of these new establishments with which the Aena network will debut in this line of business. The execution period is three years. In the case of Malaga, the launch of the hotel tender was scheduled for the first half of 2026. According to the technical specifications, the consultancy will focus on the analysis of the peculiarities of each tourism sector and business travel in these cities; hotel trends and needs in the environment of these airports, as well as the optimal type of product and the economic and financial viability of the same.

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