The associations Aehcos and Aedav consider this cutback an essential measure in order to become Spain’s second most important terminal as soon as the airport extension will be finished in 2010
The hoteliers and professionals of the travel agencies on the Costa del Sol argue that only a reduction of the airport taxes can be the guarantee for Malaga to gain positions in the national ranking in 2010, when the amplification of the terminal will be finalised. The presidents of the Association of Hotel entrepreneurs of the Costa del Sol Aehcos (Asociación de Empresarios Hoteleros de la Costa del Sol) José Carlos Escribano and the Association of the Andalusian travel agencies Aedav (Asociación de Agencias de Viajes Asociadas de Andalucía) Pedro García agree that more competitive taxes are necessary to attract a greater volume of airlines, thinking of an airport that will soon have a second runway.
The chairmen of the sector’s most consolidated employers’ associations appreciate the improvement of the infrastructures and the quality boost achieved by that, varying from the implementing of the AVE to the investment of more than 1,1 billion euros in the airport of Malaga realized by the government. Besides, the new terminal will be inaugurated this year, a building covering a surface of nearly 250,000 m². The additional terminal and second runway will transform Malaga Airport into one of the most modern airports in Europe, providing facilities to receive more than 30 million passengers per year, which would be twice the amount of the current passengers numbers. Both projects complete the “Plan Malaga” that includes as well a new control tower and a car park.
The problem mentioned by the entrepreneurs of the tourism sector is to persist during the economic crisis, which caused the companies to restructure their expansion strategies and curtail their capacity of flights and routes – a goal that can only be achieved by a larger coverage of flights and more competitive taxes, as it is, for example, the case in Tenerife or Gran Canaria. Obviously, Malaga is one of the Spanish airports which is suffering most from the fall in demand – a symptom which affects both low-budget companies and traditional airlines. Hence the entrepreneurs showed their concerns and called upon the government to take precise measures to stimulate the tourist traffic. They also see the reasons in the enterprises’ lack of liquidity and the banks’ unwillingness to concede those credits. Representatives of the government, on the other hand, justify the regression with the recent impact of the AVE, which is now a fast and economical alternative to flights, especially for travellers within Spain.
Nonetheless, the latest dates by the Association of Spanish Airports (AENA) signalise that Malaga suffered a significant loss of passengers of 20,3 % until March 2009 compared to the same term in the last year, and a drop of 21,9 % referring to flight operations. During the first three months of 2009, exactly 1,971,130 tourists arrived at Malaga by plane, so that Malaga Airport now figures on rank 6 behind Barajas (Madrid), El Prat (Barcelona), Palma de Mallorca, Gran Canaria and Tenerife Sur.