Spanish PM announces €2.4 billion expansion of Madrid airport

Barajas will serve as a hub to South America and Asia, accommodating up to 90 million passengers a year from 2031

Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez
Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez / Moncloa
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

January 26, 2024 11:52 AM

January 26, 2024 02:49 PM

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced on Friday the launch of Madrid's airport expansion project, which will involve a record investment of €2.4 billion, the highest in airport infrastructure in the last decade. 

The Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas airport will be the European airport with the "greatest potential for growth," with a capacity of 90 million passengers per year by 2031, a 28% increase over current capacity, Sánchez explained.

Pedro Sánchez said that the Madrid airport will expand its connections with South America and become a hub with Asia, introducing new routes and airlines to that continent.

The Spanish PM emphasized that the expansion of the airport will be carried out with respect for the environment and highlighted his commitment to construct the largest solar energy plant at an airport. 

Barcelona's airport expansion

The expansion of Madrid's airport comes amid talks between the Spanish and Catalan governments to upgrade Barcelona's airport. 

A commission with equal representation from the Socialists and pro-independence Esquerra was set up this week to draw up plans for the future of Barcelona-El Prat Airport. The first proposals are expected by the end of the year.

Spanish Transport Minister Óscar Puente this week expressed his support for the expansion of the third runway at El Prat, which was the original project of AENA, the company that manages the airport, with an investment of €1.7 billion.

However, this project was dropped from the airport operator's plan due to disagreements with the Catalan government over the project.

A controversial debate

Barcelona airport has seen huge growth in the past couple of decades, with passenger numbers increasing from around 17.5 million in 1999 to almost 53 million in 2019, making it the 6th busiest airport in Europe.

The company that manages the airport, Aena, wants to build a new satellite terminal and extend one of the existing runways, measures it says are needed if Barcelona's El Prat airport is to become an international hub.

While Catalonia's business community is strongly in favor of the expansion, the plan faces fierce opposition from environmentalists and local residents.