I have blogged
previously on the decline of Granada’s “International” Airport (#15;
30.1.11 and #27; 29.1.13). How, to visit one of Europe’s favourite tourist
destinations, it is necessary to fly via Malaga, or Madrid. The only
international flight I found on the airport destination schedules mid-Feb was to
Paris, twice a week on Monday and Thursday. I know there have been flights to
and from London City Airport and there will be again. But that’s not much for a
magical city like Granada.

Numbers using the
airport have been in decline since 2007 and they fell sharply in 2010 when
Ryanair pulled out because the city withdrew its subsidy. With cuts imposed by
AENA things have just been getting worse. Is a turnaround on the cards?

Well, you’ll be glad
to know that a committee has been set up to study the problem and find
solutions to “guarantee the future” of the airport.

Who’s in the
committee? All sorts of bigwigs and medium- and heavyweights from the national,
regional, provincial and urban governments, among them the city’s lord mayor José
Torres Hurtado, plus representatives from the world of business and commerce,
such as Jaime Parra, the general secretary of the local Chamber of Commerce, Gerardo
Cuerva, President of the Employers’ Confederation, President and General Secretary
of the Hostelry and Tourism Sector, Trinitario Betoret y Antonio
García, and airport director Marta Torres.

This emergency gathering
of local dignitaries and moguls is understandable in view of the importance of
the airport to the city’s and the area’s development as a cultural and tourist
attraction and a potential money-spinner.

What are they going
to do?

Brainstorm ideas,
make a plan, co-ordinate forces, and maybe even take action – to further the “internationalisation”
of the airport.

What’s new? Not much.
A repeat of the old refrain that Granada is more than the Alhambra and worth
more than just a cursory visit of 24 hours. In addition to the usual patter,
the Airport Director also calls for a more effective marketing of special
one-off events, such as the Basketball World Cup that is going to take place in
the city between 28 August and 6 September this year.

Meanwhile, the Employers’ Confederation, weary of fruitless talk
of internationalising the airport, proposes better quality, more frequent and
economical connections with Madrid Airport as a hub for international flights
to London and the rest of Europe. It is not only the tourist industry that
would profit from a better exploitation of the underused García Lorca airport
facilities. Local businesses and industries, like the technological sector or
the agroalimentary market, would also benefit. Argues the Confederation.

source: Guadalupe S. Maldonado in Granada Hoy 11.02.2014

R. Castro Granada Hoy 04.03.2014