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Star Alliance members commit to transform Barcelona Airport into a hub for its “strategic” importance

Managers from the 27 airlines forming the world’s leading group meet in Barcelona for two days. They stressed Barcelona El Prat’s “strategic” position and its potential to become a hub linking Europe with the Middle East, Latin America and Southern Africa. Barcelona El Prat is Europe’s 4th airport regarding passenger origin and destination. The Catalan Government reasserted its commitment with Spanair.

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03 June 2011 10:33 PM

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ACN / Àlex Recolons / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Barcelona (ACN).- For two days, the managers of the 27 airlines of Star Alliance met in Barcelona. This Friday, they were received by the President of the Catalan Government, together with the Catalan Minister for Economy and Knowledge and the Minister for Public Works, Transport and Sustainability. Star Alliance CEO, Jaan Albrecht, thanked the Catalan Government\u2019s commitment with Spanair and to transform Barcelona El Prat Airport into a proper intercontinental hub, an objective he considered as \u201Cstrategic\u201D for Star Alliance. Albrecht praised the potential of Barcelona\u2019s airport regarding flights with Latin America, North of Africa, the Middle East and Southern Africa. Ferran Soriano, Spanair\u2019s Chairman explained that Barcelona El Prat is Europe\u2019s fourth airport regarding passenger origin and destination; however, when adding the transfer passengers, it becomes the tenth airport in the continent in number of passengers. The Catalan President, Artur Mas explained the efforts the Government he chairs is making to participate in Barcelona El Prat\u2019s strategic decisions, currently only in the hands of the Spanish Government. Mas also emphasised the importance to manage Barcelona\u2019s airport from the private sector. Finally, he explained how in his view Catalonia was in a better position than the rest of Spain to fully recover from the economic crisis because \u201Cit is an open economy\u201D, where tourism and exports have hold a significant weight, leading these two sectors in Spain.


The President of the Catalan Government also explained the Executive\u2019s commitment to Spanair, partially owned by Catalan businesses and the public administration, as well as international investors. Spanair \u201Cis a strategic company\u201D stated Mas. He stressed that they have to drive the transformation of Barcelona\u2019s Airport into a true intercontinental hub.

Ferran Soriano, Spanair\u2019s Chairman, explained on Thursday its company\u2019s strategic wage for Barcelona. In front of the rest of the Star Alliance managers, Soriano stated that the Catalan Government\u2019s support to Spanair has a \u201Cmultiplying effect\u201D. He said that Barcelona El Prat will be a true hub. Soriano stressed that Spanair is already leading the ranking of flight transfers at the airport. In addition, during 2011\u2019s first term, these figures increased by 14%.

Barcelona El Prat is Europe\u2019s fourth airport regarding passenger origin and destination

Soriano explained that Barcelona is the fourth European airport in passenger traffic if transfer passengers were not taken into account. Only with passengers starting their trip or ending their journey in Barcelona, it is the fourth airport on the continent. However, when all the passengers who only pass through the airport are added, Barcelona El Prat jumps to the tenth position in the ranking, which means that if the airport was positioned as a hub, it would become one of the main airports in Europe.

Jaan Albrecht insisted on Star Alliance\u2019s will to connect \u201CBarcelona with the world\u201D. He said he will be working directly with the Catalan Government, Catalan businesses, Spanair and the other airlines in the group to reach this objective of Barcelona El Prat becoming an intercontinental hub, linking Europe with Latin America, the Middle East, North of Africa and Southern Africa. In addition, he praised the recently inaugurated connections with Singapore and Sao Paulo. Albrecht also explained on Thursday the importance of Barcelona\u2019s airport, as Spain\u2019s is the group\u2019s third European market.

Star Alliance is the world\u2019s first airline group

Star Alliance is the world\u2019s leading airline group, before One World (led by British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines, Australian Quantas and Japan Airlines) and Sky Team (led by Air France-KLM, Delta Airlines, and Russian Aeroflot). Besides Spanair, some of the Star Alliance airlines are Lufthansa, US Airways, Continental, Air Canada, Air China, South African Airways, Brazil\u2019s TAM, Portugal\u2019s TAP, Swiss, EgyptAir, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, SAS, Turkish Airlines, Thai, Poland\u2019s LOT, and Singapore Airlines.

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  • Star Alliance CEO Jaan Albrecht (front left) with the Catalan President Artur Mas (front right) (by A. Recolons)

  • Star Alliance CEO Jaan Albrecht (front left) with the Catalan President Artur Mas (front right) (by A. Recolons)