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Newly-arrived passengers leave Terminal T3 (archive). Salvador Salas
Study into Malaga Airport expansion commissioned as passenger numbers soar
Air travel

Study into Malaga Airport expansion commissioned as passenger numbers soar

Options to expand capacity at the gateway to the Costa del Sol are being considered, either by expanding the current T3 terminal, or even building a new T4

Ignacio Lillo / Chus Heredia

Malaga

Wednesday, 10 January 2024, 14:04

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Malaga Airport experienced unprecedented passenger number growth in 2023, and Aena – the national airport operator – has been quick to react. The public-private company has already commissioned a functional study to expansion of the terminals at the Costa del Sol airfield. This has been awarded to the Malaga firm Aertec, company sources have confirmed to SUR.

Last year was the busiest in the airport's 104-year existence: with some 21 million passengers. Currently, T3 has the capacity to serve 9,500 passengers an hour and 30 million a year. But that figure could be smashed in a few years. Expert technical sources said: “You cannot wait for demand to overflow infrastructure capacity; it is necessary to start working a long time beforehand, to anticipate the reality of demand, because these works cannot be done quickly. You have to plan how to grow to meet demand, and it is a very long process.”

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Aertec, an aeronautics and aerospace technology company, is preparing a “concept design”, where possible alternatives to expand capacity are being analysed, either by expanding the current terminal, or even building a new T4. Aertec is a benchmark firm internationally, with projects in Saudi Arabia, Peru and Colombia, among others. The company was born during the boom of the Malaga Airport.

The decision, which will need regulatory and airline approval, will still take several years. Until 2027, the airport is governed by the Airport Regulation Document (DORA-II), which has a validity of four years. Therefore, it will be from 2028 when the planned expansion will be officially considered.

Long process

These processes are very long. Plan Málaga, which shaped the current terminals, began in 2004, and culminated between 2010 (inauguration of T3) and 2012 (expansion of the runways). The technical assistance that Aertec is carrying out, with the collaboration of Aena, will be specified in a document of “functional design analysis” to maintain capacity and not reach a saturation point. It is a conceptual design phase, which, once approved, will take the form of a detailed design and finally, the necessary works.

The current airport data up until 2023, points to a full recovery in tourism activity after the pandemic, with a strong revival of international tourism on the Costa del Sol. Malaga Airport has grown the most, nationally and, in November, it led national growth in the arrival of international passengers for this low season period, according to data from Turespaña, Spain's national tourist board.

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