Madrid Barajas Leads Spanish Airport Recovery As Mega Hub Planned

The latest passenger figures from the Spanish airport operator AENA, released yesterday, Tuesday 11th January, show that passenger traffic through its 48 airports, increased by just under 58% in 2021 compared to 2020, though still less than half the number from pre-pandemic 2019.

The total number of passengers recorded in 2021 was nearly 120 million, some 43.6% of pre-pandemic levels.

Throughout the year, the number of aircraft movements was 1,518,713 – 35.7% lower than in 2019.

There were 64.3% fewer international passengers travelling than in 2019 due to the pandemic travel restrictions in force across the world.

The Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport reported the largest number of passengers in the network, with 24,135,220, a drop of 60.9% compared to its pre-pandemic high in 2019.

However the figures were better in December, with AENA handling some 12.7 million passengers, which though down 30% from the same month in 2019, was up by more than 200% compared to December 2020.

Nearly 1 million tonnes of cargo was transported by air, just 6.6% less than in 2019 – of which half was through Madrid.

Madrid´s surge in cargo traffic is due in part as the airport aims to capitalise on the boom in logistics.

In October AENA opened the bidding for a 28-hectare plot near Barajas to build a mega-hub for air and ground freight.

The planned area to be called Airport City, aims to enhance Madrid´s status as an international flight hub connecting Asia to Europe and Latin America.

It is understood that potential investors face a qualifying phase in which they must commit to providing 125% of the initial capital, estimated at 107 million Euros in exchange for a majority stake in a joint venture with the airport operator.

The process will then continue with bidders being invited to an auction in the first quarter of this year.

Airport City will boast some 2.1 million square metres dedicated to cross-docking, storage and logistics warehouses catering to a variety of aviation services, as well as offices, hotels and green spaces.


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