May 30, 2020

Teruel airport, more than just a parking lot for airplanes in Europe

For the aeronautical sector, Teruel exists. Wow, it does exist. In the municipality of Caudé the largest maintenance, long-term storage and recycling of aircraft in Europe is located. Plata, as it is officially called – an acronym for Teruel Aeronautical Platform -, is an almost unique airport. Around its immense take-off runway, in which an Airbus A-380, the largest aircraft in the world, can take off, there is a gigantic long-stay parking lot with capacity for 250 aircraft arriving there for maintenance, parking or recycling of pieces. That is the main business of Silver. But it has more. Rocket engine tests, flight tests, aerial work or research for the aerospace sector are also carried out.

But Plata wants to continue growing and for this he has placed the load in his sights. This same week, the Airport Governing Board has approved its 2020-2030 Master Plan that includes an analysis of the aerodrome situation and establishes both the short-term needs, which are set in the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, as well as long-term. The plan analyzes the possibility of opening a new line of business with the operation of merchandise airplanes from 2024. As explained by the airport director, Alejandro Ibrahim, it is currently an idea that is still under study but that In his opinion, he has the potential to become a reality. "Freight traffic is growing at a rate of 10% per year in recent years favored by the development of the e-commerce business, which makes us think that there could be room for more airports than are now operating."

Barajas and Zaragoza are currently the leaders of this sector in Spain. But Ibrahim believes that Teruel may have room. Although it is very close to Zaragoza, 150 kilometers away, Ibrahim argues that The aerodrome of the Aragonese capital is not that far from Madrid, about 300 kilometers away, and there is business for both. In his opinion, its strategic enclave, between Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Zaragoza and Bilbao (60% of Spanish GDP and more than 20 million inhabitants in a radius of 400 km) and next to Toulouse, one of the centers of the European aeronautical sector, They make Teruel airport an ideal candidate for the cargo business.

The airport is in the final phase of a project of a paint hangar for aircraft up to type A350-900. Teruel's plans also include commercial aviation, although on a small scale. The airport already operates private flights, but is close to starting work with small passenger planes of up to 19 seats. The installation is pending a report from the General Directorate of Civil Aviation to begin operating. Opening the airport to this aviation is due to a demand from the companies that already work at its facilities, "which suggested the possibility of doing so directly without having to fly to other airports," explains Ibrahim.

Cargo, commercial aviation or painting will not cease to be complementary businesses to Teruel's principal, parking and aircraft maintenance. Its management includes an investment of 30 million euros – the airport cost 45 – which will make it, as its director says, if not the first one, in one of the first centers of this type in the world. The installation will expand the current platform for the maintenance and parking of aircraft by 37,000 square meters, which will have a total space for these purposes of 100,000 m2. It also plans to build a hangar with capacity for two A380s. It also has a 900 square meter logistics warehouse in the advanced construction phase for the storage of aeronautical material.

Since its activity began seven years ago, Teruel airport has not stopped growing. Its managers estimate that, until September, its operating income has grown by 15%. These sales exceed 50% of their expenses, despite the fact that to continue growing, the installation has doubled its staff. In the first half of 2019, 3,000 air operations have been exceeded and in the last three years some 13,000 have been accounted for.

. (tagsToTranslate) Airports

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