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Passengers waiting for baggage check-in at Terminal 3. SUR
Malaga Airport has registered 500,000 more passengers every year since 1990
Air travel

Malaga Airport has registered 500,000 more passengers every year since 1990

T3 was inaugurated in 2010 as the culmination of the Master Plan or Malaga Plan and in 14 years it has taken the airport from 12 million passengers a year to 21 million; T2, the Picasso, took it from five to 12 million

Chus Heredia / Ignacio Lillo

Wednesday, 10 January 2024, 16:01

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Analysing the evolution of passenger numbers at Malaga Airport provides a better understanding of the leap that the city, and the Costa del Sol, has made in the last 30 years.

In 1990, some 4.7 million passengers transited through T1, the old terminal. Since then, the records show an average annual growth of 500,000 passengers at the Malaga facility.

T1 gave way to Pablo Ruiz Picasso, T2, which was operational as the main terminal until March 2010. In those 20 years it went from serving five million passengers a year to 12 million.

By then, the projections were showing large expected increases and it was necessary to approve the 'Master Plan' to address the growth of the airport, a programme that would later be called Plan Málaga. In total, 1.4 billion euros were spent on three key projects to increase operations to 9,400 passengers per hour: the new control tower (the old one was demolished to make way for the new terminal building), T3, and the new runway.

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It was in this context that T3 was inaugurated in March 2010. From that year until last year, the airport has gone from just over 12 million to a record of more than 21 million, with a pandemic in between and several records broken along the way. In fact, 2023 was the best year in the 104-year life of this infrastructure: never before has the 21-million frontier been reached.

In November, Malaga led the year-on-year growth of tourists from abroad in Spain, with 27.1% and 26% more in global terms than in 2019. The data and forecasts confirm a full recovery after the pandemic, notably for international tourism and the strength of the Costa del Sol destination and further expansion at Malaga Airport now needs to be considered.

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