RANKED: The busiest airports in Spain

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RANKED: The busiest airports in Spain
Passengers queue at the Ryanair check-in counters at the Terminal 2 of El Prat airport in Barcelona on July 1, 2022. Photo: Pau BARRENA/AFP

Following news that Spain's tourism sector has almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels, The Local takes a look at the country's busiest airports.


Taking advantage of the lifting of travel restrictions, Spain welcomed 66.4 million foreign tourists in the first eleven months of 2022, a huge (138.9 percent) increase on 2021, but still 15 percent less than during the same period in 2019.

READ ALSO: Tourism in Spain bounces back to near pre-pandemic levels

Clearly, that means Spanish airspace (and crucially, its airports) were much busier in 2022 than they were in the previous pandemic-hindered couple of years. In 2020, the year the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in Spain, air traffic in the country decreased by a whopping 72.4 percent.


But new data released from Spain's Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda shows that Spain's airports welcomed 243.68 million passengers in 2022, 88.5 percent of the number in 2019.

December was a particularly strong month, with 17.89 million passengers, 98.1 percent compared to the same month in 2019.

According to the data, there were a total of 2.2 million aircraft operations in 2022, a recovery of 93.9 percent compared to 2019, and just over one million tons of goods were transported, 6.5 percent less than in 2019.

Of the passengers travelling through Spanish airports in 2022, 242.8 million were commercial passengers. Of this figure, 82.31 million travelled around Spain on domestic flights, 3.8 percent less than in 2019, and 160.5 million on international routes, 15 percent less.

But amid this wave of travel, which of Spain's airports were the busiest in 2022?

Spain's busiest airports

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Madrid's Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas registered the most passengers in 2022, with a total of 50.6 million. This figure, however, represents a significant decrease of 18 percent compared to 2019.

In second place was Barcelona's El Prat Airport, with 41.6 million passengers, a decrease of 21 percent from 2019; third was Palma de Mallorca, with 28,573,364 (-3.9 percent); then Málaga-Costa del Sol, with 18.4 million (-7.1 percent), Alicante-Elche's Miguel-Hernández with 13.2 million (-12.3 percent).

This was followed by Gran Canaria, with 12.4 million total passengers (-6.4 percent); Tenerife South, with 10.8 million (-3.1 percent); Ibizia with 8.1 million, the same figure as 2019; and Valencia, also with 8.1 million passengers, a drop of 5 percent.

READ ALSO: How Wales fans swapped Qatar for Tenerife to enjoy a cheap and boozy World Cup

Busiest airport (total passengers)

  1. Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas - 50.6 million (-18 percent)
  2. Barcelona-El Prat - 41.6 million (-21 percent)
  3. Palma de Mallorca - 28.5 million (-3.9 percent)
  4. Málaga-Costa del Sol - 18.4 million (-7,1 percent)
  5. Alicante-Elche Miguel-Hernández - 13.2 million (-12.3)
  6. Gran Canaria -12.4 million (-6,4 percent)
  7. Tenerife Sur - 10.8 million (-3.1 percent)
  8. Ibiza - 8.1 million (no change)
  9. Valencia - 8.1 million (-5 percent)



2025 recovery

It could take a couple more years to fully recover to pre-pandemic air traffic levels. According to Aena's five year plan, by the end of 2025, Spanish airports will have recovered to 2019 passenger levels. The company is also hoping to hit 282.5 million passengers by 2026.


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