Airport expansion? No, thank you • Environmentalists at work

Airport expansion? No, thank you • Environmentalists at work

Why don’t we want airport expansions?

For its climatic effects. Spain has pledged to cut transport emissions by 46% by 2030. But Aena and the Ministry of Transport are committed to fueling air transport growth by expanding 13 airports (see below).

Because it causes damage to the health of the population. Air transport is a major source of ultrafine particles, soot, noise, etc. Numerous studies have shown how People living near airports are more likely to get sick. Cardiovascular disease, hearing loss, sleep disturbances or impaired cognitive performance.

This study, which has just been published, shows how air travel could be the cause of 52,205 cases of hypertension, 64,918 cases of diabetes, and 5,339 cases of dementia in residents near the airports of Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca.

Due to severe environmental conditions. The expansion of airport infrastructure and air traffic operations has a very negative impact on ecosystems and animals in the environment. Noise, pollution of ecosystems and collisions with birds are among the impacts that aviation growth has on environments that are often subject to environmental protection figures.

Because they are speculative projects against the public interest. Far from being a social requirement to improve the mobility of the majority of the population, airport expansions mainly favour construction companies and banks, as well as private equity in Aena (49%), where some of the largest funds in global investment participate.

These projects also respond to the interests of large real estate capital and mass tourism. The model is the cause of growing inequality, evictions, destruction of neighborhood commerce, instability and exploitation of labor, air and noise pollution, massive increases in carbon dioxide emissions and loss of agricultural and natural spaces.

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What is Aina up to and why?

In 2023, the Aena airport network in Spain recorded the highest number of passengers in its history (283.2 million), exceeding pre-pandemic levels (2.9% more than the 2019 figure).

Economically, Aena saw in 2023 a significant growth in its commercial income compared to 2019: a 20% increase in duty-free shops, 45% in restaurants and 26% in parking and VIP services.

Faced with this situation, Ina presented at the beginning of March (Record the action) Update Strategic Plan 2022-2026with an upward revision of its strategic objectives: the target of 300 million passengers brought forward to 2025 (previously set for 2026) and a 48% increase in commercial income compared to 2019 in 2026 (previously 23%), among others.

To achieve this, Aena announces in its new strategic plan a wave of expansions at its thirteen main airports in Spain: Madrid, Tenerife South, Tenerife North, Lanzarote (these four are already in the project phase, in orange in the chart below), Barcelona, ​​Malaga, Alicante, Valencia, Ibiza, Menorca, Santander, Bilbao and Melilla.

Aena aims to proceed by 2025 with the design of the nine airport extensions currently without a project (with blue dots on the map), so that they can be approved in 2026 and form part of DORA III (2027-2031). This means an unspecified amount but not less than 6,000 million euros for these extensions.

Airport expansions

What do we claim?

  1. stop any expansion Or intervene with the aim of increasing the number of operations managed by the airport network in Spain.
  2. to assign Limits on the number of operations Airports, as already exists in other EU airports.
  3. Establishes reduce emissions limit For the entire air transport sector in Spain with the aim of reducing the supply and demand for flights.
  4. Cancel domestic flights With the option of a rail connection of up to four hours. This procedure must take into account the impossibility for operators to cover the freed up periods with other trips.
  5. Implement a plan Resize AENA Which includes closing airports deficit.
  6. Implementation of tax measures on air transport: kerosene tax, frequent-flight tax and 21% VAT on national and international tickets.
  7. Include flights departing from and entering the European Economic Area in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Their current exclusion from the scheme means that emissions from long-haul flights are not subject to any regulation.
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