2012 has been another bad year for Federico García Lorca Airport
Granada/Jaén. As were 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008. (I wrote about it in #post15.)
The number of passengers passing through the airport has fallen year by year
since 2007 reaching the lowest number for eight years. This chart shows clearly
what has been happening:

In 2004, before low-cost airlines started using the airport, 590.931 passengers
passed through Federico García Lorca Airport in Granada. In 2005, Ryanair
arrived on the scene like a fairy godmother and the numbers shot up to 875.322,
an increase of 45,4%. Things continued to go well with a peak of 1.467.625
travellers being reached in 2007. The number of users fell by 3.1% in 2008 and
since then they have been in a state of practical freefall. In 2010 they dipped
for the first time since 2006 below 1 million line. The crisis set in when
Ryanair left in search of greener pastures. It was exacerbated by the collapse
of Spanair in 2011. Of the 872.752 passengers who passed through Granada that
year, at least 136.400 were on routes operated by Spanair, accounting for a
good part of the loss of 144.324 users that occurred compared to 2010.

Thus, in 2012, with only 728.428 users, Granada hit rock bottom, that is
to last place among the five Andalusian passenger airports. It had fallen
behind Jerez de la Frontera in 2010, and now it was overtaken by Almería whose
749.712 passengers were 21.284 more than those using the Federico García Lorca
Airport of Granada y Jaén.

The key to the continued demise of Granada Airport lies in its current
dependence on national tourism, which in the crisis has been more badly
affected than external tourism. In Granada 97% of air passengers start or end
their journey inside Spain.

The sad demise of the airport has an odd footnote in the appearance and
disappearance of Hispania Airways, possibly the shortest-lived airline ever,
hardly lasting 15 days. After announcing flights between Granada and Madrid,
Barcelona, Rome, London and Paris and its intention of flying 80,000 passengers
into and out of the city in its first year, plus its plans to set up one school
to train flight attendants and another for pilots, on 21 December 2012,
presumably because it realised it had no chance to get anything like sufficient
bookings, Hispania Airways cancelled all its flights from Granada Airport
before it had even started, mumbling something about re-considering the
situation and the possibility of resuming (resuming?) its activities at an
unspecified future date.

When Hispania declared its good intentions, Mayor José Torres Hurtado commended
the airline for putting its faith in Granada with no more institutional support
than its promotional tourist campaigns. This was a side-swipe, a bit
unfortunate as it turned out, at Ryanair, who pulled out as soon as
“institutional support” (in the form of subsidies) was withdrawn.


Guadalupe S. Maldonado 19.01.2013 + A. González Vera 09.01.2013 Granada Hoy