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Why it's awesome: Barcelona-El Prat is one of the busiest airports in Europe and serves as the gateway for region's booming leisure industry. The airport's largest tenants include low-cost carriers Ryanair, Norwegian Air Shuttle, and Vueling. Skytrax reviewers praised the facility for its available dining and shopping options, while complaining about longer wait times.
Barcelona-El Prat Josep Tarradellas Airport, or simply Barcelona-El Prat Airport, is located 12 km (7.5 mi) southwest of the Barcelona 6 metres above sea level, between the municipalities of El Prat de Llobregat, Viladecans and Sant Boi. It is only 3 kilometres from the Port of Barcelona and 7 kilometres from the Zona Franca Industrial Estate, one of Spain's most important industrial and logistics parks and a key factor in Barcelona's economic strength.
The airport has had several popular nicknames such as La Volatería, so named for occupying the land of the first airfield in El Prat del Llobregat (1916, Aerodromo de La Volatería); Aeropuerto del Prat, or the most common of all, Barcelona-El Prat Airport, as it was designated in its penultimate official change in 2011. This designation was in force until 1 March 2019, when the new name of Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport was made public, as a tribute to the former president of the Generalitat de Catalunya, from whom it takes its name.
Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport is part of the Public Business Entity ENAIRE, Spanish Airports and Air Navigation, which manages almost the entire Spanish airport network. The airport is identified by IATA BCN and OACI LEBL codes.
Barcelona-El Prat is the second largest airport in Spain, after Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas, and is the main airport in Catalonia and on the Mediterranean coast. In 2019, 52.7 million passengers passed through its facilities, placing it in 6th position on the list of Europe's busiest airports. That same year, its growth increased by 5% compared to 2018, with more than 344,000 operations carried out and more than 177 million tons of cargo transported.
The policy of new routes practiced by the airport Management encouraged the opening of Barcelona to other destinations. Currently, there are 371 air routes that depart from the Catalan capital, with flights to 212 destinations in 62 countries around the world. This figure means that international traffic accounts for 73% of its total, with a volume of 38.7 million passengers.
According to the World Airport Awards, granted by the renowned English consulting firm Skytrax, Barcelona-El Prat occupies the 43rd position of the Best Airports in the World in the 2019 edition; and currently holds the 3rd position of the Best Airports in Southern Europe. The Catalan airport was also awarded in 2019 with the prize for the 2nd Best Airport in the category of airports with between 50-60 million passengers.
There are 89 airlines operating out of Barcelona Airport, 70% of which are low-cost airlines. Barcelona-El Prat is the headquarters of Vueling and LEVEL airlines, and has consolidated itself as one of the main low-cost airports in Europe in recent years.
It is also an important hub for scheduled airlines with direct connections to the United States, Canada, South America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Only 9 of the 89 airlines operating at the airport (Vueling, Ryanair, easyJet, Iberia, Norwegian, Lufthansa, Air Europa, Wizz Air and British Airways) account for 75% of the airport's traffic. Charter flights account for 1% of annual traffic, with just over half a million passengers.
Domestically, the airport moves 14 million passengers and accounts for 26.6% of its total traffic. The route of the Madrid-Barcelona corridor -or air shuttle- continues to be the route in Spain with the highest passenger traffic, although from Barcelona it flies to 29 domestic destinations on 54 routes.