The year 2017 will go down in history as the busiest ever for Barcelona’s El Prat airport, with 47 million passengers and 156,105 tons of cargo. The good news on data of airport traffic, which has continued to grow month after month in relation to 2016, is an injection of optimism amid the trickle of negative economic data that has been recorded following the October 1 referendum.
In relative terms, the 47 million passengers represent a 7.1% increase compared with the 44 million in 2016, which was also a record year. In terms of percentage, growth exceeded that of Madrid’s Barajas Airport. Madrid, with 53.4 million passengers, recorded an increase of 5.9% compared with 2016.
Both the operations and freight sectors of El Prat compared to Madrid reflect the same parameters; Barajas is busiest in all aspects but Barcelona shows the largest percentage growth. In regards to air-traffic, 2017 the airport reached 323,539 flights, an increase of 5.1% compared with the previous year.
A more detailed analysis of the origin of the passengers show that those coming from other parts of the state exceeded 12.7 million, an increase of 7.7%, while international traffic has increased by 6.8% with more than 34.5 million passengers.
Last year’s operations at the airport highlighted the problem the lack of police personnel in passport control and the labour dispute which led to a strike by Eulen security employees during summer. Both incidents affected the image of the airport and resulted in lengthy queues of passengers at the check-in desks.
The two other major airports in Catalonia, Girona and Reus, also grew during 2017 by 16.9% and 25.1% respectively. Sabadell’s aerodrome reported 41,260 operations.