Traffic at El Prat,
Barcelonas airport, has been growing steadily over the past few years, and if it
continues to do so, by 2001 the airport will be used by 21 million people yearly. In order
to deal with this increase, it will be have to undergo another renovation that will allow
it to serve passengers, aeroplanes and cargo. (...) As a solution to the problem, the
authorities have decided to build a third runway, so that a number of aeroplanes can take
off and land simultaneously. This solution will not only allow the airport to respond to
greater demand in future, but it will also provide room for increased business activity at
the airport, making it into a powerful infrastructure element. The most neglected area to
date has been that of cargo loading, with very sporadic increases in activity.
Plans for expanding the airport include another runway, a new central passenger terminal,
a high-speed train station and an underground light rapid transit system connecting the
new facilities. Experts also recommend construction of new piers and more service
installations for aeroplanes, particularly for loading and unloading cargo.
Along with this expansion, Catalonias institutions are convinced of the need for
changes in the airports management at present solely in the hands of AENA (the
national airport authority) that would open it to participation by such institutions
as town councils and the Catalan Autonomous government, as well as the private sector.