Play golf next to the sea while waiting for a flight transfer at Barcelona El Prat Airport
The Spanish Airport Authority (AENA), which owns and manages Barcelona El Prat Airport, has issued the tender to allocate the construction and management of a golf course located between the sea beach and the airfield’s third runway for 30 years. The golf course will be 175,000 square meters and have 9 holes. It will be for the passengers’ use, mostly those who are transferring through El Prat Airport. It should be operational by summer 2014, profiting from some of the infrastructure of a previously existing golf course. The project will come with restaurants and shops, as well as rooms for relaxing or holding meetings. Furthermore, in the future a beach club might also be built. The aim is to raise Barcelona Airport’s attractiveness as an international hub connecting short- and medium-distance flights with intercontinental ones.
El Prat del Llobregat (ACN).- The Spanish Airport Authority (AENA), which owns and manages Barcelona El Prat Airport, issued the tender this week to allocate the construction and management of a golf course located between the beach and the airfield’s third runway for a 30-year period. The executive golf course will be 175,000 square meters, and will have 9 holes and a pitch & putt area. It will be for passengers’ use, mostly those who are transferring through El Prat Airport, although people not travelling will also be allowed in. The golf course and associated facilities should be operational by summer 2014, profiting from some of the infrastructure of a previously existing golf course. The project will come with restaurants and shops, as well as rooms for relaxing or holding meetings. The facilities will be near the airport’s main terminal, only separated from it by the third runway. In addition, they are next to the beach and two small wildlife reserves for birds such as flamingos. In fact, in the future a beach club might also be built, although this particular project is still under discussion. The final aim is to raise Barcelona Airport’s attractiveness as an international hub connecting short- and medium-distance flights with intercontinental ones. In fact, as of next year, Barcelona will be Europe’s main airport concentrating short- and medium-distance flights, connecting the Catalan capital to most of the continent’s airports. Furthermore, El Prat’s airports is increasing its number of intercontinental flights, especially to the Americas, the Middle-East and Asia, and this is one of its main growth strategies. The deadline to receive the tender’s offers ends on the 9th of May.
It will be an “executive” golf course, which means it will have a smaller size than regular courses of 18 holes. In fact, this one will be designed with 9 holes, so you are able to complete the circuit in a less than one hour and a half. The course will be open to locals but it is mostly designed to attract people travelling through Barcelona El Prat Airport who have to wait for a few hours for their next plane. In the golf course facilities, as well as in its restaurants and shops, passengers will be able to relax during their waiting time. Rooms to have a nap in will also be available. In addition, business meetings will also be held, either by playing golf, eating or in one of the meeting rooms onsite.
The project is not new. AENA had already thought about this possibility a decade ago, when it decided to expand Barcelona El Prat Airport and build a new terminal and a third runway going parallel to the beach and the existing golf course. In fact, the decision was finally shaped four years ago, while it was unveiling the new terminal, the T1, which has become the airport’s main terminal, located between the first and the third runways – which go parallel to the sea shore. “It is about developing a set of quality services to turn El Prat into a main airport hub”, explained the Barcelona El Prat’s Commercial Director, Maribel Pardo, to the ACN. “If you offer complementary quality services to the passengers transferring, such as VIP rooms, rooms to spend the night or a golf course, you are favouring them to finally go for El Prat”, she added.
AENA’s tender includes the construction and setting up of the golf course, and the rehabilitation of the Country House of the former golf club, which was abandoned in 2002. However, during the last 10 years, AENA has carried out minimum maintenance work to prevent the area from deterioration with the objective of restarting the project in the future and re-opening the golf course. And this time has come.
An executive golf course
The 175,000 square metres of the golfing area will be able to fit in a 9-hole circuit, which is smaller than a professional golf course of 18 holes. However, it is way bigger than a pitch & putt, although it will also have a pitch & putt area for those who only want to practice their shots. “It will be an executive golf course, targeting professionals and golf lovers, who will be able to complete the game in only one or one and a half hours”, explained Pardo.
In this vein, AENA considers that the best option is to have a ‘pay per play’ course, open to the wider public but especially to passengers with a flight transfer with a waiting time of three hours or more. “We think it can serve El Prat Airport but also the towns neighbouring Barcelona. It could also host a golfing school where future professionals could be trained”, explained Pardo. She insisted that the project has been proposed by the Catalan airport’s management but it will developed by the company that wins the tender, which will have to develop its own project with its own ideas.
Regarding the country house situated in the middle of the golfing area, the tender includes its full rehabilitation. The building has an artistic and historical interest, designed by J. A. Coderch, and it is protected. The building will host services linked to the golf course, such as shops and restaurants.
Opening: summer 2014
AENA foresees that before this summer, the company that wins the tender will be decided and announced. With this date set, the golf course might be able to open next summer, in 2014, although it may not be completed or not with all its associated services during the first few months. According to the Spanish Airport Authority, the project has already raised the interest of several companies. In fact, Barcelona El Prat would become the only airport in Spain with such facilities attached.
In addition, El Prat Town Hall will complete the maritime walkway between the beach and the golf course. It will also build a new biking lane and will create more parking spaces.