Barcelona Airport to add more intercontinental destinations this winter

25 intercontinental destinations will be available from the Barcelona airport starting the 31st of October. In addition, many flights to current destinations will increase their frequency. However, this increase is not shared with the Girona and Reus airports, which are seeing their destination variety and frequency decrease now that Ryanair is flying out of Barcelona. Besides, operating from Girona in 2011 will be 27% cheaper, as airport taxes have been modified.

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

October 27, 2010 10:47 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The Barcelona El Prat airport is unveiling new intercontinental routes this winter season, starting on the 31st of October. Spanair will offer direct flights from the Catalan capital to Bamako (Mali) once a week from February, and with Tripoli (Libya) three times a week. 3 more destinations will be added in comparison to winter 2009. Qatar Airways will link Barcelona with Doha every day. Pakistan Airlines will connect Barcelona with Chicago 3 times per week and Air Algerie offer flights to Oran twice per week. The three companies are continuing with the routes they started this summer. However, for the Girona and Reus airports, the news is not so good. Ryanair, the main airline operating in Girona and Reus, is decreasing its number of flights from these airports now that the company has started operating from Barcelona.

Ryanair is reducing the frequency of its flights from Girona by 30%. However, it is inaugurating 3 new routes to Larnaca (Cyprus), Lille (France) and Gdansk (Poland). Transavia will also maintain its flights to Amsterdam and Rotterdam. In total, Ryanair will offer 45 routes from Girona, 7 less than last year. The discontinued routes are to Malaga, Granada, Porto, Cagliari, Bratislava, Moss and Edinburgh.

In order to counteract this movement and respond to a petition from the Girona business and political class, the Girona airport operating costs will be 27% cheaper than Barcelona in 2011. It is currently almost the same price for airline companies. The Spanish flight regulating authority (AENA) has modified airport taxes for next year as a way of privileging smaller airports and making them more competitive.

New intercontinental routes from Barcelona

The Barcelona airport wants to become a true intercontinental hub. In addition to the new routes, existing destinations have seen an increase in number of flights, as Spanair flights to Tel Aviv and Nador. The connections with North America have been kept. Delta Airlines will flight to New York-JFK and Atlanta. American Airlines will fly to New York-JFK, and Continental Airlines to New York-Newark.

In addition, Aeroméxico will link Barcelona to Mexico City. Aerolines Argentinas and Avianca will offer flights to Buenos Aires and Santa Fe de Bogotá, respectively. Singapore Airlines will fly to Singapore.

With all these routes, Barcelona is moving closer towards its medium-term strategic objective in becoming, little by little, an intercontinental hub. Madrid airport is its bigger competitor as it receives more funding from the Spanish government and Iberia made it its unique intercontinental platform some 5 years ago, centring all the connections to South America. Now, Barcelona airport wants to mainly focus on Africa, Asia and North America, although flights to South America are also wanted.