Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, will officially open the new terminal of Barcelona’s El Prat airport, the T1, on Tuesday. The new terminal will be put to use the day after, by the Star Alliance, headed by Spanair. 240 flights, 30,000 passengers and 18,000 pieces of luggage are expected on the first day.

The Spanish PM is not the only high profile politican that will be attending, Jose Montilla, the President of the Generalitat and the Minister of Development (Fomento), Jose Blanco, will also be attending.

Barcelona's T1 terminal prepares for grand opening

Barcelona’s T1 facts and figures

524,000 square meters
166 check in counters
12,000 parking spaces
8,000 pieces of luggage per hour capacity
90 fight operations per hour capacity
3,000 new jobs
40 Shops
43 hospitality establishments

Barcelona’s T1 predictions are optimistic: 30 million passengers per year (bringing Barcelona airport’s total to 55 million). What the collosal  project failed to take into account was the slowdown in the economy, which is taking a heavy toll on the travel and tourism industry, let alone the high speed train (AVE) which is stealing airline traffic by the day.

But Barcelona’s T1 project was not solely a project intended to keep up with demand, which grew from 19.8 million passengers in the year 2000, to 30 million passengers in just under 6 years, and even scraped 33 million in 2007, at 32.8 million. The T1 was the ideal opportunity to decentralize Aena, which established Madrid, as the international hub for connection flights.

Image of the interior of the Airport Management Centre
Image of the interior of the Airport Management Centre

The big problem appears now with the latest Aena figures showing a drastic reduction of passenger numbers. Barcelona’s airport registered a decrease of 13.7% during the month of May. Time will tell the fortune of the new T1.

Photos Copyright: AENA.