Long security lines in Barcelona Airport amid labor conflict
Workers plan to strike on August 4, claiming more resources are needed
Workers plan to strike on August 4, claiming more resources are needed
The low-cost airline also serves Buenos Aires, San Francisco and Punta Cana and will offer new destinations soon
Barcelona’s El Prat Airport registered 32.2 million international passengers last year, more than huge airports like JFK in New York or Narita in Tokyo. Barcelona has the 17th most transited airport in the world, according to the Airports Council International (ACI). There was an 11% growth in passengers traveling outside Spain from Barcelona over last year. Madrid-Barajas is still the main Spanish airport, with 36.1 million passengers, but El Prat is growing much faster. Those good results last year are not enough. Barcelona is looking to take a huge intercontinental leap forward in 2017. After hitting a record in 2016, the facility is now ranked seventh among European airports. The launch of the new long-haul operating hubs of Norwegian and Level are bringing it closer to becoming an international hub for a combination of European low-cost airlines and foreign companies.
The Catalan Government has announced an “urgent meeting with all responsible parts involved” in order to address the collapse at the Barcelona airport’s passport control over the past 15 days. Government’s spokesperson Neus Munté considers the Spanish authorities’ “passiveness” an intentional “act of sabotage” against the Barcelona airport. The Spanish government argued that the queues are due to unexpected passenger increase. The Catalan MEP of the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCat), Ramon Tremosa, asked the European Commission to make sure that the Spanish State applies the new EU border regulations against terrorism without harming or inconveniencing Barcelona airport passengers. The Catalan political groups in the Spanish Parliament, in turn, will demand explanations from the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Spanish ministers in the chamber.
The first plane connecting Shanghai and Barcelona landed at El Prat airport on Friday at 08:05am. The route, operated by Air China, is offered all year round, three days a week: Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The plane, an Airbus 330-200, has capacity for up to 239 tourist class ticket holders and 16 business class ticket holders. On its first trip, the plane had an 86% occupancy rate. The round trip from Barcelona to China departed from the Catalan capital at 12:30pm with an occupancy rate of 88%. All flights for the weekend are already fully booked. Òscar Olive, Airports of Catalonia's commercial director, praised Air China for “having been able to recognize” the “clear demand” for direct connections between Barcelona and Asia. The airline has offered a direct link between the Catalan capital and Beijing since 2014.
The British airline Jet2 launched a new connection this Friday between Reus Airport, located about 100 kilometers from Barcelona, and London-Stansted. In addition, starting Saturday, Birmingham will be added to their routes from Reus. The new connection with London-Stansted will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays whereas the flights between Reus and Birmingham will be available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. They will offer 228,000 seats and expect to grow by 65% in comparison with last summer. Jet2 already offers seven routes from Reus to Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, East Midlands, and Newcastle and will offer 30 weekly flights, 10 more than last year.
The North American multinational Amazon has announced the hiring of 800 workers in order to incorporate their Amazon Robotics cutting edge technology at the logistic centers of Castellbisbal and Prat de Llobregat, just outside Barcelona. These 800 jobs are in addition to the 1,500 hirings that they had already announced would take place over the next three years. 200 of these new positions will be in Castellbisbal, where the new technology is already in use, and the other 600 will start at the new logistics center in Prat, which is opening in October, 2017. In addition, Amazon is contracting highly qualified engineers for the maintenance of the whole system at the two centers.
American Airlines new direct link between Barcelona-El Prat airport and Chicago is expected to increase the airline's passengers in Catalonia by 15%. The new flight will operate from the 6th of May and will be offered alongside the current flights to Miami and New York. American Airlines also flies seasonally direct from Barcelona to Charlotte and Philadelphia. The Regional Sales Director of American Airlines in Spain and Portugal, José A. Blázquez, confirmed these figures in a press conference this Tuesday in the Catalan capital. Barcelona is a key destination for American tourists, said the U.S. Consul General, Marcos C. Mandojana, who highlighted the growing number of connections from Catalonia to his country.
Barcelona’s El Prat airport will be connected with two US and two South American cities starting in June 2017 thanks to LEVEL, the new low-cost carrier of International Airlines Group (IAG). The company chose the Catalan capital to introduce its new brand because of its “international touristic appeal” and also because of the connections from Barcelona’s El Prat airport through Vueling, IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh explained. The new carrier will fly from Barcelona to San Francisco and Los Angeles starting at 99 euros and to Buenos Aires, Argentina and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic starting at 149 euros. The flights will use A330-200 planes with crew from Iberia and IAG. More than 250 jobs are expected to be created in Barcelona, according to Walsh who presented the news this Friday morning at a press conference in Catalonia’s capital city of Barcelona.
The number of passengers whom passed through Barcelona El Prat Airport this January grew by 11.4% in comparison to the same month last year. According to the Spanish Airport Authority (AENA) 2,804,092 passengers used Barcelona El Prat Airport's facilities in the first month of 2017 and there were 20,848 operations registered. The number of flights to and from Latin America and the Caribbean grew the most, by 35.8%, followed by those to and from the Middle East (16.9%), Africa, which grew by 10.4% in comparison to January 2016, and North America (9.3%). Cargo transportation also grew in January, increasing by 11.4% in comparison to the first month of 2016 and totalled 10,330 tonnes. In terms of cargo, routes from within the Spanish state saw the biggest growth, 40.5%, while international cargo registered a 10.2% increase in comparison to January 2016.
The number of passengers whom passed through Barcelona El Prat Airport in 2016 grew by 11.2% in comparison to the previous year and set a record 44.1 million passengers. According to the Spanish Airport Authority (AENA) there were 307,864 operations registered in 2016, 6.6% more than in 2015 and both national (+11.4%) and international flights (+11.2%) grew in comparison to 2015. Cargo transportations also grew in 2016, increasing by 13.3% and totalling 135,754 tonnes. The busiest month was August, when 4.7 million passengers passed through El Prat Airport while February registered the highest growth; 2.7 million passengers used El Prat airport facilities that month, representing a 20.4% increase in comparison to the same month in 2015.
Norwegian Airlines will double its workforce at Barcelona Airport, from the current 354 people to 755 in August 2017. The announcement was made this Monday by the Vice President of Human Resources of the company, Jan Dahm-Simonsen, during the press conference on the expansion of the airline offices at the installation in Prat de Llobregat. The 755 jobs Norwegian Airlines will have at the company headquarters in Southern Europe, in Barcelona, will include administrative, flight and ground assistance personnel. The expansion of staff responds partially to the rise in operations of the airline at Barcelona Airport, which will connect the city with Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Miami from next summer.
Barcelona and Seoul will be connected through three direct flights per week from the 28th of April 2017. The Catalan Minister for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget, announced this Wednesday that next year Korean Air, the largest airline in South Korea, will operate three flights - on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday - with capacity for 248 passengers each. The company currently operates flights to 129 destinations in 46 countries and in 2015 registered around 25 million passengers. Baiget detailed that the negotiation process to achieve an agreement started two years ago, on a trade mission and institutional trip of the Catalan Government to South Korea, and explained that the airline will extend the frequency to four days in the future “if things work well”.
Barcelona El Prat Airport will be connected to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Miami through direct flights operated by low-cost airline Norwegian. Thus, Barcelona will host the only direct route to San Francisco in the whole of Spain. The new connections will start working in June 2017 and from August onwards Norwegian will offer four weekly flights to New York, three to Los Angeles and San Francisco and two to Miami. In total 325,000 places will be offered in the first year, most of them, 175,000, to California. According to Norwegian’s CEO, Bjorn Kjos, the company is set to also offer other new routes from the Catalan airport.
12.7% more passengers used Barcelona El Prat Airport’s facilities during the first half of 2016 than in the same period last year. According to data released by the Airports Council International (ACI) and adding the figures corresponding to July, 25,028,393 people used El Prat’s facilities in the first seven months of the year. Thus, Barcelona’s airport has the second-largest passenger growth in group 1, which includes those airports with more than 25 million passengers per year, only behind that of Dublin, which registered 13.4% growth. However, in June, El Prat was the European airport which saw the highest increase in the number of passengers (10%) and its pace of growth was double that of the European airport average. According to ACI these good results are mainly due to the high amount of low-cost flights operated to and from El Prat, which was double the amount operated from Madrid. Moreover, the number of movements from January to July reached 117,326, which represents 6.5% more than in the same period last year.