Work began in summer 2007, just when Malaga airport was starting to show symptoms of saturation, and now its completion comes just in time for take-off, as monthly figures confirm a recovery in the tourism industry on the Costa del Sol. The airport’s second runway is now ready and is expected to be in operation from March 2012, after a test period.
From then on the airport will be able to double its number of take-off and landing operations (from 37 to 72) which means as many 9,500 passengers arriving or departing every hour, as many as 30 million a year. Malaga will become the fifth Spanish airport with more than one runway, after Madrid, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Gran Canaria.
At the end of last week the Spanish aviation authority, Aena, and the Socialist MPs, Miguel Ángel Heredia and Daniel Pérez, all sang the praises of the new runway and the benefits it would bring with it. According to the planned time scale, the initial safety tests are being carried out between now and September. These will take the form of test flights to calibrate the newly installed air navigation systems which send information to aircraft to help with approach and landing in adverse weather conditions.
Additional tests will be carried out during the rest of the year, so that Aena’s airspace department can design the departure and arrival manoeuvres. Once it has been confirmed that all the navigation systems, essential to guarantee flight safety, are functioning correctly, the airport will be given the necessary certification from the State Aviation Safety Authority, in order to be given the green light by Spain and the EU. Then it will be ready for use.
The runway stretches for 2,750 metres for landing aircraft and 3,090 metres including the extra take-off run. It’s location is 14 degrees from the existing runway, which makes them “quasi-parallel”. The dimensions of the new runway will mean that the larger jumbo jets will be able to take off and land at the airport.
The new runway, along with the T-3 terminal, is the most important project within the Plan Málaga, the almost one billion euro airport improvement scheme to modernise aviation infrastructure in Malaga. The opening of the second runway will mark the culmination of the ambitious scheme, vital to cope with the increase in passengers expected over the coming decades. The scheme also included the new train station and railway tunnel, improved road access and the extended car park.