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Airlines at Barcelona airport expect to sell 23 million seats this winter

New pilot training center at Lleida airport looking forward to 120 students during 2019

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29 October 2018 07:42 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Airline companies working out of Barcelona Airport have forecast they will sell some 23.1 million seats for the winter season, some 10.7% more than last year.

Between October 28 and March 30, there will be more than 121,000 flights, some 8.8% more, as well as more destinations, which go up by seven from last year, to 283.

The countries accounting for the most seats will be the UK and Italy, with more than two and one million, respectively, followed by France and Germany, with 1.6 million seats sold, a rise of 1.5% and 2.5%, respectively.

With more than 300,000 seats expected to be sold, the Asian market is the one that is expected to grow the most, with a rise of 50%, followed by Africa, with growth of 24%.

However, the number of passengers from Latin American countries is expected to fall by 0.7%, although the domestic market is due to grow by 8.3%, to 6.8 million seats.

Moreover, some 23 new routes will begin from the airport this winter season, some of which will be long distance destinations, such as Abu Dhabi and San Francisco.

Lleida airport's pilot training center up and running

Also expected to have a busy winter season is the Lleida-Alguaire airport in the west of Catalonia, which over the next few months will bring in skiers from all over Europe.

Yet this winter, the airport is also welcoming student pilots, as the Lithuanian Baltic Aviation Academy (BBA), which opened on October 1, gets underway.

According to the BBA head, Egle Vaitkeviciute, the training center is expected to welcome some 120 students in 2019, who will live for a whole year in the local area.

This month, six different planes were transferred to the airport, as well as 15 instructors, with the training center kicking off in October with some 40 students.

BBA is one of Europe's leading pilot training schools, with some 20 people now working at the Lleida airport, on two floors of the flight control tower.

With 40 trainee pilots already studying at the center, another 30 are soon expected, with another 22 due to arrive in December.

According to Vaitkeviciute, a total of 120 students are expected in 2019, but the company has plans to train 400 a year in the future. The students are from more than 50 countries.

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  • Passengers at the Barcelona airport El Prat on September 3 2017 (by Gemma Sánchez)

  • Passengers at the Barcelona airport El Prat on September 3 2017 (by Gemma Sánchez)