Malaga Airport. Marilú Báez
Malaga Airport marks new milestone with direct flights to 154 destinations around the globe

Malaga Airport marks new milestone with direct flights to 154 destinations around the globe

The airport that serves the Costa del Sol is the fourth-placed in Spain with the most connections to the rest of the world

Pilar Martínez


Tuesday, 18 June 2024, 10:32

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Malaga Airport connects with 154 destinations around the world this month, a new milestone for the infrastructure dubbed the gateway to the Costa del Sol.

The figure for June beats the previous record, achieved last year in July when Malaga Airport had direct connections to 151 destinations. A total of 65 airlines make the new record possible, as never before has Malaga Airport achieved this volume of non-stop flights to so many cities and towns.

This level of connectivity exceeds that announced by Aena last March when it announced the data for the high season, assuring Malaga would be connected by air with 136 international airports. However, the figure has shot up and only Madrid, with 202 destinations; Barcelona (200); and Palma de Mallorca (187) are ahead of Malaga. The top 10 best connected Spanish airports are Madrid, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Alicante, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Valencia, Tenerife South and Seville, according to the latest ranking.

International flights

Malaga Airport has achieved the milestone due to its higher concentration of European flights and year-round routes that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, such as the one operated by Qatar Airways from Malaga to Doha. United Airlines has also expanded and increased its air capacity by almost 300% to connect the Costa del Sol with New York, following just one successful summer.

Seasonal connections consolidated with countries in the Persian Gulf have also played a role, where in addition to the capital of Qatar, Malaga Airport has direct flights to Saudi Arabia, to Riyadh on Saudia Airlines flights, or to the Arab Emirates, to Abu Dhabi on a route operated by Etihad Airways.

Flight to Bahrain

On Monday, 17 June, a direct flight to Bahrain once again became operational by the national airline of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Gulf Air. This airline will repeat last summer's schedule, in which it kicked off its largest operation at Malaga Airport with three flights per week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The route will be maintained until 28 September. Flights will be operated with the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, "a modern and comfortable aircraft, ensuring a pleasant journey for all passengers", the carrier said in their presentation, in which they pointed out "their commitment to global connectivity and their role as a bridge between Europe and the fast-growing regions in the Middle East and beyond". They also said this flight opens up alternatives to connect with Abu Dhabi, Colombo, Dubai, Malé, Jeda, Riyadh, Bangkok, Muscat, Peshawar, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Islamabad, Lahore and Manila.

Connections with North Africa have also increased with the recent launching of an Air Arabia route to Tetouan, which connects the Costa del Sol with this Moroccan city four times a week - specifically, every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The airline also flies from Malaga to Casablanca and this summer it will fly to Nador. In total, there are nine routes with direct flights between the Costa del Sol and North Africa: Melilla, Ceuta, Tangier, Fez, Rabat and Marrakech, along with Casablanca, Nador and Tetouan.

This leap in air connectivity, key to guaranteeing the destination's tourist success, coincides with a high season, which airport operator Aena is already predicting will be historic with 20 million seats offered by airlines and 11% more scheduled flights than last year.

In Europe, airlines have scheduled from the start of April to the end of October more than 15.7 million seats, an increase of 11.4% and 83,230 operations, 10.3% more from Malaga. The United Kingdom remains the most powerful market with the highest number of seats, reaching almost 4.7 million, with more than 24,500 flights. There has also been a clear increase in connections with Germany, with an increase of 21.1% more seats and almost 21% more flights; the Netherlands, with 14.3% more seats and 11% more flights; and with Italy, with almost 23% more seats and flights.

Airlines are also increasing their offer to Spanish destinations with 20.7% more domestic flights. The number of seats available for travel within the country has risen to almost 3.3 million, 9.8% more than the 2023 summer season. Malaga Airport is linked by air to 19 Spanish destinations.

Malaga flies high above the rest of Andalucía

Malaga Airport is the absolute leader in Andalucía in terms of passengers, flights and also air connectivity, setting it apart from the rest of the region's airports. In second place at regional level is Seville, where 21 airlines are currently operating, compared to the 65 that operate at Malaga Airport. The number of direct flights scheduled in the Andalusian capital is 80, compared to 154 in Malaga. Next in terms of air connectivity are the airports of Almeria, connected to 21 cities; Jerez de la Frontera, with 16: and Granada, linked by air to a dozen cities operated by five airlines.

Last May, almost 70% of the passengers who travelled through Andalusian airports arrived or departed from Malaga, a figure that is reduced to 65% if the first five months of the year are analysed. Aena puts the number of passengers who have travelled through these airports up to May at 13,904,453, which is 15.3% more than the same period last year. Of these, 9,556,544 travelled on connections with Malaga. By airports, in the accumulated year, Malaga Airport has received 9.06 million passengers, an increase of 14.8%; followed by Seville, with 3.7 million and an increase of 18.3%; Granada, with 462,743 and an increase of 14.8%; Almeria, with 281,677 and an increase of 14.7%; Jerez, with 331,289 and an increase of 1.5%; while Cordoba, with 2,293 passengers remains stable.

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