Reus Airport plans to exceed 2 million passengers and projects a new terminal
The new Reus Airport Master Plan, whose development was announced by the State Government in 2018, has finally seen the light. The proposal to review the current document, which has not been altered since it was approved in 2006, outlines three growth horizons for the infrastructure in terms of total passengers. In the first of them, in the short term, the aerodrome would reach 1,639,600 passengers; in the second, in the medium term, it would reach 2,128,800; and in the third and last, in the long term, the 2,622,200. In this version, the forecasts are not associated with a specific calendar because, "after Covid", an attempt has been made to "ensure the validity of the planning (...) regardless of the contingencies that may arise". However, an earlier draft did link these three scenarios to 2025, 2032 and 2040, respectively.
Based on the expected evolution of demand, the Reus Airport Master Plan determines the future needs that will arise in the facilities for each horizon. Among them, the project to build a new terminal stands out, since the current one "presents great difficulties in terms of expansion." The idea comes from afar. It was, in fact, part of the 2006 Plan, but, like other improvements planned at the time, it was never carried out. Now, Aena contemplates it conditioned to the volume of travelers and provided that this exceeds the 2,622,200 of the third assumption.
For the new terminal, Aena considers three alternatives, with different configurations, and opts for the one that presents a more contained cost, is modifiable a posteriori and would not generate interference due to the works. This means creating "a new linear-type terminal building to the north of the current commercial aviation parking platform, respecting the location defined in the 2006 Plan, in such a way that it can meet the expected traffic demand until the last horizon" .
The building would have about 25,000 square meters on a single level, with an estimated investment of 50,515,000 euros, and would be associated with the construction of new entrances and car parks to optimize the service provided to travellers.
That would solve some problems that have been detected in the passenger area, such as the fact that they must make "a complex route on foot, especially at landings, where you have to cross service roads and circulate in the vicinity of the Airport facilities." The distribution that is applied at the moment «requires a personal effort handling to ensure the route and guide users, so it is considered necessary to improve this operation", as specified in the Plan.
With this, the current terminal, which would be left in disuse, "will be reused and remodeled to be used as a general aviation terminal building - intended for non-commercial aircraft, air taxis and private and sports aviation - and as service units." The works would imply an expense of 6,400,000 euros. And the existing commercial platform where the planes that cover regular routes park would be reconfigured and expanded to the northeast (with an injection of 16,503,000 euros) to reserve its southern part for general aviation. Arriving at the third horizon, general aviation would require its own platform that would cost around 2,831,000 euros and "it is considered convenient to provide the Airport with a specific building for its treatment."
Generate more controls and parking lots
The increase in travelers at the Airport would also result in an increase in security controls, worth 61,000 euros. And more car parks would have to be generated in order to maintain a constant ratio of 500 spaces per million passengers per year. To begin with, some 150 places that are not being used would be enabled and that could be brought up to date by dedicating 220,000 euros to them. Later, parking lots would be created around the new terminal building with a higher investment of 5,390,000 euros.
In total, the Master Plan –which is not an economic document but rather an urban and planning document, that is, it makes estimates of the necessary amounts without these having been provisioned– contemplates a list of investments for a total of 102,632,000 euros. The data includes other interventions, such as changes in the layout of the access roads to the aerodrome, the remodeling of the treatment plant, the transfer of the fuel parcel or the acquisition of land. Aena also trusts in the return of merchandise, which has practically not reached the infrastructure since 2016. And it outlines horizons of 35,000, 46,200 and 56,700 kilos.
The Ministry of Transport, through the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, which directs aeronautical policies, submits the proposed revision of the Reus Airport Master Plan to public information together with the strategic environmental study. The roadmap admits claims until December 13. When this procedure is completed, in principle, another one of sectoral consultations should be activated and the result of all this, passed to the Airport Coordination Committee.
Asked about the new Plan, the accidental mayor of Reus, Noemí Llauradó, values that "it is important that the projected investments are developed to make our Airport a much more competitive infrastructure, and the Master Plan, which we will analyze in depth, shows that there are a bet in that direction. "Even so, it is not enough", indicates Llauradó, who says that "efforts must be intensified, a powerful, coordinated and ambitious airport network must be set up and that the administrations involved and Aena work to make it possible and that Reus Airport has a greater volume of activity, with continental and national flights and regular lines all year round».
For his part, the president of the Reus Chamber of Commerce, Jordi Just, explains that the Plan “will have to study it, but it goes along the line that this Airport of ours belongs to the Champions”. "It puts us on the map and, if we connect with the intermodal and have high speed to Barcelona, the horizons will be achieved even sooner," he says. The Chamber offers to collaborate with the rest of the institutions and administrations to analyze the document.
A difficult starting point
The airport entered its third winter without flights over the weekend. The last plane will take off from the capital of Baix Camp on November 7 and there will be no more until March. The territory repeatedly calls for measures to relaunch the infrastructure. Between January and September of this year, 811,412 passengers have been registered and the most recent record is just over a million.
In its analysis of the demand forecast to prepare the Plan, Aena, taking into account the "irregular behavior" of traffic in Reus, has assumed that the routes grow as the GDP of the issuing country. Following this line, it has adjusted the calculations contemplating recovering destinations such as Dusseldorf, Bremen, Memmingen (Germany) or Amsterdam (Holland), as well as links with Italy, Romania or France. Also charters with Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Morocco or Russia.
The commitment: connect with the intermodal station
In an appearance at the Chamber of Reus, last September, the president of Aena, Maurici Lucena, guaranteed the connection between the Airport and the future intermodal station. «The Vila-seca station will be a historic turning point for intermodality in the territory. Aena's commitment is to develop a fast connection to achieve a time of seven minutes for passengers between the Airport and the station. We must analyze it, but I already say publicly that we are going to take it forward, "Lucena said then. The question is present without being in the proposal for the revision of the Reus Airport Master Plan.
In their contributions to the environmental study, several town councils in the area of influence of the aerodrome remind Aena and the Ministry of Transport of the need to foresee the link with the intermodal. The Generalitat also points out that "the new Strategic Aviation Plan for Catalonia 2030 is being drafted and, for Reus Airport, the proposals would be consistent with the revision of the Master Plan provided that the intermodal rail connection of the same Airport is promoted" . The step should be taken once the specificity of the station is known.