Barcelona–El Prat Airport

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Template:Infobox airport

Barcelona–El Prat Airport Template:Airport codes (Catalan: Aeroport de Barcelona – el Prat, Spanish: Aeropuerto de Barcelona-El Prat), simply known as Barcelona Airport, is located Template:Convert southwest<ref name="euro">EUROCONTROL basic. Retrieved on 2011-10-04.</ref> of the centre of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, lying in the municipalities of El Prat de Llobregat, Viladecans, and Sant Boi.

The airport is the second largest in Spain behind Madrid Barajas Airport and 31st busiest in the world, and is the main airport of Catalonia. It is a main base for Vueling, a hub for Iberia Regional and low-cost giant Ryanair as well as a focus city for Air Europa. The airport mainly serves domestic, European and North African destinations, also having flights to Southeast Asia (Singapore), Latin America (Argentina, Brazil and Colombia) and North America (United States and Canada). The Airport was a hub for Spanair before it suspended services on January 27, 2012.

The Barcelona–Madrid air shuttle service, known as the "Puente Aéreo" (in Spanish), or "Pont Aeri" (in Catalan) literally "Air Bridge", was the world's busiest route until 2008, with the highest number of flight operations (971 per week) in 2007. The schedule has been reduced since February 2008, when a Madrid–Barcelona high-speed rail line was opened, covering the distance in 2 hours 30 minutes, and quickly became popular.

In 2011, nearly 34.4 million passengers used Barcelona Airport, a 17.8% increase compared with 2010. In 2012, Barcelona Airport handled 35.1 million passengers, making it the only of the major airports of Spain to report an increase. In 2013 Barcelona Airport handled 35,210,735 passengers. Currently, Barcelona-El Prat is the 10th busiest airport in Europe just behind London Gatwick Airport and right in front of Moscow Domodedovo Airport.

From February 2014, Barcelona-El Prat was the first Spanish airport to receive a daily Airbus A380 operated by Emirates on its routes to Dubai International Airport, an important milestone in its history.


Barcelona's first airfield, located at El Remolar, began operations in 1916. However, it did not have good expansion prospects, so a new airport at El Prat opened in 1918. The first plane was a Latécoère Salmson 300 which arrived from Toulouse with final destination, Casablanca. The airport was used as headquarters of the Aeroclub of Catalonia and the base for the Spanish Navy's Zeppelin fleet. Scheduled commercial service began in 1927 with an Iberia service to Madrid Cuatro Vientos Airport. This was Iberia's first route. During the time of the Second Spanish Republic El Prat was one of the bases of LAPE (Líneas Aéreas Postales Españolas).

In 1948, a runway was built, today 07-25, in the same year the first overseas service was operated by Pan American World Airways to New York City, using a Lockheed Constellation. Between 1948 and 1952, a second runway was constructed (runway 16–34), perpendicular to the previous, also taxiways were constructed and a terminal to accommodate passengers. In 1963, the airport reached one million passengers a year. A new control tower was built in 1965 and the terminal was rebuilt in 1968 (currently the oldest wing of Terminal B). On 3 August 1970, Pan American World Airways inaugurated regular service between Barcelona, Lisbon and New York, operated by a Boeing 747. On 4 November of the same year, Iberia began the "Air-shuttle" service between Barcelona and Madrid-Barajas. A few years later, in 1976, a terminal was built specifically for Iberia's air-shuttle service and a terminal exclusively for cargo, an annexed mail service and an aircraft ramp for air cargo. In 1977, the airport handled over 5 million passengers annually.

From the late seventies to the early nineties, the airport was stalled in traffic and investments until the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona. El Prat underwent a major development consisting in the modernization and expansion of the existing terminal (terminal B) and the construction of the other two (A and C terminals) which included jetways for direct access to the aircraft. This reform was designed by architect Ricardo Bofill Levi. In 1992, a new control tower was inaugurated also designed by Ricardo Bofill Levi.

A new control tower was opened in 2006. The new Terminal 1 was inaugurated on June the 16th, 2009, covering 545,000 m². 70% of today's flights operate from Terminal 1. The old terminals A, B and C are now Terminal 2.

File:Terminal B.JPG
Terminal 2B with artwork by Miró

Due to the strong drop in air traffic after 1999 and the crisis in the aviation sector in 2001 many charter operations from Girona and Reus were diverted to El Prat, which helped the airport to survive the crisis.

File:Barcelona Airport.JPG
Barcelona Airport

On the 1st of February 2014, Barcelona-El Prat was the first Spanish airport to receive a daily flight with the Airbus A380, on the Emirates route to Dubai International Airport. It has also been announced that in 2015, Transaero Airlines will bring daily their A380 to Barcelona for its routes to Moscow.

One of the main airlines that operates out of Barcelona, Norwegian Air Shuttle, has announced the opening of a base at El Prat Airport starting April 2014, by having three Boeing 737 aircraft based at the airport. Norwegian's CEO, Bjørn Kjos, has also announced the airline's intention of starting long-haul routes out of Barcelona-El Prat, from 2016, to destinations such as New York John F. Kennedy International Airport and/or Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, operated by Boeing 787 aircraft.

Air China will offer (starting 5th of May 2014) flights to Beijing Capital International Airport (via Vienna International Airport) four times a week. This flight will be the first ever service between China and the Catalan capital, a connection that has been requested for years. The flight will be operated by Airbus A330 aircraft.

El Prat today

Most of the traffic at Barcelona Airport is domestic and European, in which Vueling has an operational base. However, the number of intercontinental connections has not received a highly significant amount of passenger traffic during the last years. The lack of numerous intercontinental connections has been a constant cause of complaint and pressure by the authorities and Catalan groups in recent years, who want the airport to become a center of world air traffic distribution and not just European. Template:By whom Lately, though, the airport has grown rapidly both in the number of passengers carried, and the number of operations. It seems this growth will continue expanding the airport from an international point of view, as many airlines (not just European) have already shown their interest in operating to and from Barcelona.

In recent years, the traffic of low-cost airlines has grown significantly, especially after the creation of operating bases by Vueling and Clickair at the airport. Vueling and Clickair merged in July 2009, and they now operate under the name of Vueling. There are other low-cost airlines operating from the airport including Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle, easyJet Switzerland, Wizz Air, among others, who have established a new base at the airport starting September 2010.

The airport has 3 runways, two parallel, nominated 07L/25R and 07R/25L (the latter opened in 2004), and a cross runway 02/20. There are two terminals: T2, which is the sum of the previous Terminals A, B and C, located on the north side of the airport and T1, on the west side, which opened on 16 June 2009. The two terminals have a combined total of 268 check-in counters and 64 boarding gates. Operations at the airport are restricted exclusively to IFR (instrumental flights), except for sanitary VFR flights, emergency and government.

A plan for expansion (Plan Barcelona) includes a third terminal building (also designed by Ricardo Bofill) and control tower. An additional runway (07R/25L) has also been built. Once these developments were completed in 2009, the airport is capable of handling 55 million passengers annually (compared to 33 million passengers in 2007). The airport expanded in area from Template:Convert with the completion on the upgrades in 2009. A further expansion is planned to be finished by 2012, with a new satellite terminal which will raise the capacity to 70 million passengers annually.

The airport is the subject of a political discussion over the management and control between the Generalitat of Catalonia and the Spanish Government, which has involved AENA (airport manager) and various airlines, Iberia and Spanair mainly. Part of the controversy is about the benefits that the airport generates, which are used in maintenance and investments in other airports in the network of AENA and government investments in other economic areas. Template:By whom


Terminal 1

Terminal 1 from the tarmac
Terminal 1 interior

The new Terminal 1 designed by Ricardo Bofill was inaugurated on 16 June 2009. This new Terminal 1 is the 5th largest in the world and it has an area of Template:Convert, and an aircraft ramp of Template:Convert.

Its facilities include:

  • 258 check-in counters
  • 60 jetways
  • 15 baggage carousels (one of the new carousel is equivalent to 4 carousels in the old terminal) and
  • 24,000 parking spaces, in addition to the 12,000 already in the terminal 2.

The forecast is that the airport will be able to handle 55 million passengers annually and will reach 90 operations an hour.

The extension of the airport with a total investment of €5.1 billion in the future will include a new satellite terminal and refurbishment of existing terminals. The civil engineering phase of the South Terminal has been made possible by a budget of €1Billion.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 was also designed by Ricardo Bofill Levi. Terminal 2 was designed to expand the airport before the arrival of the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. Following the opening of Terminal 1 in 2009, Terminal 2 became nearly empty until the airport authorities lowered landing fees to attract low-cost and regional carriers to fill the terminal, although nowhere near full capacity.

Airlines and destinations

File:T1 Prat Aitor Agirregabiria.jpg
Outside view of Terminal 1.
File:Airbus A321 Iberia & A320 British Airways (5047661247).jpg
Iberia Airbus A321-211 (EC-ILP) & British Airways Airbus A320-211 (G-BUSK)
File:Boeing 737-36Q JET2 G-GDFG (7809657082).jpg Boeing 737-300 landing at El Prat Airport.
File:Boeing 737-8K2 KLM PH-BGB (7843635208).jpg
KLM Boeing 737-800 taking off at El Prat Airport.
File:Boeing 737-78J Tarom YR-BGG.jpg
TAROM Boeing 737-700 retro jet landing at El Prat Airport.
File:Boeing 767-33A(ER) Air Canada C-GHPN (7836846706).jpg
Air Canada Boeing 767-300ER taxiing at El Prat Airport.
File:Boeing 737-8Z9 Austrian Airlines OE-LNS.jpg
Austrian Airlines Boeing 737-800 landing at El Prat Airport.

Passenger airlines

Template:Refimprove section Template:Airport-dest-list

Cargo airlines


Busiest airlines

Main Airlines in Barcelona-El Prat 2013
Rank Airline Passengers Services to
1 Vueling 12,173,029 Europe, Africa, Asia
2 Ryanair 4,254,049 Europe, Africa
3 easyJet 2,358,293 Europe
4 Lufthansa 1,448,906 Europe
5 Air Europa 1,234,331 Europe
6 Iberia 1,092,838 Air Shuttle
7 British Airways 817,140 Europe
8 Air France 808,935 Europe
9 Swiss International Air Lines 703,099 Europe
10 Norwegian Air Shuttle 608,858 Europe
11 KLM 569,377 Europe
12 easyJet Switzerland 493,856 Europe
13 Wizz Air 440,391 Europe
14 Transavia 433,116 Europe
15 TAP Portugal 410,967 Europe
Busiest National Routes JAN 2014
% change
1 Template:Flagicon Madrid 161.416 Template:Decrease 13.84 Air Europa, Iberia, Vueling
2 Template:Flagicon Palma de Mallorca 95.546 Template:Decrease 2.61 Air Europa, Ryanair, Vueling
3 Template:Flagicon Sevilla 52.464 Template:Decrease 4.66 Ryanair, Vueling
4 Template:Flagicon Bilbao 37.074 Template:Decrease 17.81 Vueling
5 Template:Flagicon Eivissa 35.895 Template:Increase 6.39 Air Europa, Ryanair, Vueling
6 Template:Flagicon Málaga 35.146 Template:Decrease 12.68 Ryanair, Vueling
7 Template:Flagicon Tenerife-North 31.416 Template:Increase 6.44 Air Europa, Ryanair, Vueling
8 Template:Flagicon Santiago de Compostela 27.215 Template:Decrease 8.44 Ryanair, Vueling
9 Template:Flagicon Alacant 23.891 Template:Decrease 13.91 Vueling
10 Template:Flagicon Menorca 23.825 Template:Decrease 2.38 Air Europa, Ryanair, Vueling
Busiest European Routes JAN 2014
% change
1 Template:Flagicon Amsterdam Schiphol, Netherlands 74.767 Template:Increase 8.51 KLM, Transavia, Vueling
2 Template:Flagicon Paris Charles de Gaulle, France 71.766 Template:Increase 7.60 Air France, Easyjet
3 Template:FlagiconLondon Gatwick, United Kingdom 71.457 Template:Increase 45.68 British Airways, Easyjet, Monarch Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Vueling
4 Template:Flagicon Frankfurt International, Germany 61.302 Template:Increase 38.88 Lufthansa, Vueling
5 Template:Flagicon Paris Orly, France 47.867 Template:Increase 3.17 Air France, Vueling
6 Template:Flagicon Rome Fiumicino, Italy 43.131 Template:Increase 1.30 Alitalia, Vueling
7 Template:FlagiconMunich F.J.Strauss, Germany 40.952 Template:Increase 3.51 Lufthansa, Vueling
8 Template:Flagicon Milan Malpensa, Italy 40.095 Template:Increase 3.17 Alitalia, Easyjet, Vueling
9 Template:Flagicon Lisbon, Portugal 38.292 Template:Increase 6.44 Portugalia, TAP Portugal, Vueling
10 Template:Flagicon Moscow Domodedovo, Russia 36.186 Template:Increase 48.99 Transaero Airlines, Vueling
11 Template:Flagicon London Heathrow, United Kingdom 34.034 Template:Decrease 4.13 British Airways
12 Template:Flagicon Zurich International, Switzerland 32.724 Template:Decrease 0.76 Swiss International Airlines, Vueling
13 Template:Flagicon Geneva Cointrin, Switzerland 28.042 Template:Decrease 11.77 Easyjet Switzerland, Swiss International Airlines
14 Template:Flagicon Brussels National, Belgium 27.828 Template:Increase 6.91 Brussels Airlines, Vueling
15 Template:Flagicon Moscow Sheremetyevo, Russia 20.507 Template:Increase 13.87 Aeroflot, Nordwind Airlines
Busiest Intercontinental Routes JAN 2014
% change
1 Template:Flagicon Istanbul (IST&SBH), Turkey 30.869 Template:Increase 51.90 Pegasus Airlines, Turkish Airlines
2 Template:Flagicon Doha International, Qatar 19.402 Template:Increase 20.48 Qatar Airways
3 Template:Flagicon New York City (JFK&EWR), United States 19.192 Template:Increase 5.46 American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines
4 Template:Flagicon Dubai International, UAE 18.689 Template:Increase 44.93 Emirates
5 Template:Flagicon Tel Aviv, Israel 16.333 Template:Increase 14.17 Arkia Israel Airlines, El Al, Vueling
6 Template:Sort 12.647 Template:Increase 28.04 Air Arabia Maroc, Royal Air Maroc, Vueling
7 Template:Flagicon Algiers, Algeria 11.292 Template:Increase 21.68 Air Algerie, Vueling
8 Template:Flagicon Miami, United States 9.945 Template:Increase 3.16 American Airlines
9 Template:Flagicon Buenos Aires Ezeiza, Argentina 8.141 Template:Decrease 10.31 Aerolineas Argentinas
10 Template:Flagicon Tangier, Morocco 7.971 Template:Increase 18.26 Air Arabia Maroc, Jetairfly, Royal Air Maroc, Vueling


File:Barcelona Airport Progression(1963-2006).PNG
Graphical volume of passenger traffic between 1963 and 2006
Passenger Volume
Year Passengers % Year Passengers %
1963 1,000,000 - 2000 19,809,567 +13.8
1977 5,000,000 - 2001 20,745,536 +4.7
1990 9,205,000 - 2002 21,348,211 +2.9
1991 9,145,000 -0.7 2003 22,752,667 +6.6
1992 10,196,000 +11.5 2004 24,558,138 +7.9
1993 9,999,000 -2.0 2005 27,152,745 +10.6
1994 10,647,285 +6.5 2006 30,008,152 +10.5
1995 11,727,814 +10.1 2007 32,898,249 +9.6
1996 13,434,679 +14.6 2008 30,208,134 -8.2
1997 15,065,724 +12.1 2009 27,311,765 -9.4
1998 16,194,805 +7.3 2010 29,209,595 +6.5
1999 17,421,938 +7.6 2011 34,398,226 +17.8
2012 35,144,503 +2.2
2013 35,210,735 +0.2

Font: Aeroport de Barcelona, AENA.

Operations Volume
Year Operations %
1999 233,609 -
2000 255,913 +9.5
2001 273,119 +6.3
2002 271,023 -0.8
2003 282,021 +4.1
2004 291,369 +3.3
2005 307,798 +5.6
2006 327,636 +6.4
2007 352,501 +7.6
2008 321,491 -8.8
2009 278,965 -13.3
2010 277,832 -0.4
2011 303,054 +9.1
2012 290,004 -4.3
2013 276,496 -0,4
Cargo Volume
Year Tonnes %
1999 88,217 -
2000 88,269 +2.4
2001 81,882 -7.8
2002 75,905 -7.3
2003 70,118 -7.6
2004 84,985 +21.2
2005 90,446 +6.4
2006 93,404 +3.3
2007 96,770 +3.6
2008 104,329 +7.7
2009 89,813 -13.6
2010 104,279 +16.1
2011 96,572 -7.4
2012 96,522 -0.1
2013 100,297 +3.9

Ground transportation


Template:Main Terminal 2 has its own Rodalies Barcelona commuter train station on the line Rodalies Barcelona Line 2, which runs from the Maçanet-Massanes station every 30 minutes, with major stops at Barcelona Sants railway station and the fairly central Passeig de Gràcia railway station to provide transfer to the Barcelona Metro system, also in Clot station. Passengers for T1 must take a connecting bus from Terminal 2B to Terminal 1. As part of the major expansion above, a new railway station will be built in Terminal 1, connecting the airport to the Spanish AVE network, and Line 9 of the Barcelona Metro.


The Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) public bus on line 46 runs every 16 minutes from Plaça Espanya. A scheduled private bus line (Aerobús) from Plaça Catalunya, stops at Urgell and Plaça d'Espanya. Taxi stops are available at each terminal. The C-32B highway connects the airport to a main traffic interchange between Barcelona's Ronda de Dalt beltway and major motorways.

Taxi from Barcelona Airport

Travelling by Taxi is a low cost and convenient way to get from the airport to the city centre, especially if you have a family or a lot of luggage.

You will find a taxi rank outside any of the main terminal exits Terminal 1 (T1) or Terminal 2 (and of the 3 buildings of Terminal 2 - T2A, T2B or T2C). Look for the sign pointing to the nearest taxi rank. The taxis operate all night and there are several hundred of them so you don't have to worry about not being able to catch a cab.

The journey to the city centre will take you between 25 to 40 minutes depending on road conditions. If you are travelling from Terminal 1 rather than Terminal 2, this will add an extra 4 km to your journey and take approximately 5 minutes more. Children under the age of 12 must be seated in the back seat of the car and supervised so that they do not distract the driver. Eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted during the ride, even if the driver and passenger agree otherwise. The taxi is required to admit blind passengers accompanied by seeing eye dogs (Law of the Parliament of Catalonia 10/1993).

Taxi Fare

Expect to pay (by normal traffic conditions in a workday) around €30.00 for the journey into the centre from T2 and €40.00 for your journey from T1. There will also be an additional surcharge charge for each bag you're carrying and additional surcharge for Barcelona Cruise Port destination. You'll find the rates displayed inside the cab. Final price will depend on time and road conditions.

All official Barcelona taxis are black and yellow. The taxi service in Barcelona is generally very good, clean and reliable.

Taxi to Barcelona Airport

The taxi journey from Barcelona city centre to Barcelona airport takes about 25-40 minutes. Barcelona taxi cost from the Barcelona airport will be between 30 and 40 euros depending on your departure point, the traffic and the time of day.

In Barcelona and the municipalities of the metropolitan area, the most common ways to catch a cab in the street is to go to one of the taxi network stops which all of the municipalities have, or to use a hand signal to hail a cab when an empty one is approaching. At the stops, the customer must take the first vehicle in the order of departure at the stop. Circulating taxi drivers cannot pick up passengers within a 50-metre radius of a stop. The most suitable places to hail a cab in the street are the corners. Users must bear in mind that the taxi driver cannot make abrupt manoeuvres or stop the car in places that represent a hazard for traffic circulation.

The telephone is another effective means of calling a cab. You may request a taxi by calling one of the 20 taxi radio dispatch centres that operate in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. Many of these centres have a fleet management system that allows them to send a taxi to the place requested by the user. The assigned taxi number is communicated by telephone call or SMS message.

Lost and found For Lost and Found notifications you can call to IMT (Institut Metropolità del Taxi) at 902 101 564. More informations at IMT website

Airport parking

Barcelona Airport has approximately 24,000 parking spaces (12,000 at T1 & 12,000 at T2), 2,009 of them are in the parking building, placed in front of Terminal 2C, which it is connected to the airport by a covered corridor. In front of Terminal 2A, another parking building, which adds approximately 2,600 more spaces, this building is being extended with the construction of two new levels. The remainder are distributed in other areas on the exterior, in front of the terminal buildings and offices buildings. Since 16/6/2009, there is also a long stay parking between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

Incidents and accidents

  • On 21 October 1994 a Falcon 20 cargo aircraft made an emergency landing at the airport after suffering a malfunction in its landing gear; none of the three crewmembers were injured.
  • On 19 February 1998, two people, the commander and the pilot died in an Ibertrans general aviation plane crash in the borough of Gavà shortly after taking off from El Prat.
  • On 28 July 1998 a general aviation cargo plane carrying press from Mallorca crashed next to one of the fences surrounding the airport, killing two crew members and co-pilot.
  • On 3 December 2010, during the Spanish air traffic controllers strike, Barcelona Airport remained inoperative when all Spanish air traffic controllers walked out in a coordinated wildcat strike. Following the walkout, the Spanish Government authorized the Spanish military to take over air traffic control operations.<ref name="theguardian1">

Template:Cite news </ref> On the morning of December 4, the government declared a 'State of Alert', ordering the controllers back to work. Shortly after the measure was implemented, controllers started returning to work and the strike was called off.<ref name="telegraph1"> Template:Cite news </ref>



Further reading

  • Zunino, Eric (November 2004) "Barcelona Airport", Airline World, pp. 40–43.

External links

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Template:Airports in Spain Template:Transport in Barcelona