Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Spain's empty airports (V): Burgos

This case is similar to Logroño (see previous post). The historical city of Burgos and its region is not without its tourist attractions, and to be fair, in spite of the economic crisis, Burgos airport (RGS) has shown some modest growth since its inauguration, in 2008. However, it has capacity for 500,000 passengers year, and with only a handful of regular flights, operated by Air Nostrum, to Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Paris-Orly, there are serious doubts about its capacity to generate enough demand on the long-term to make it economically viable.

The Spanish government invested €45.6 million on this facility, a figure that might be justified in cases where the airport helps break geographical isolation (it does not seem to be the case here) or brings significant benefits in the form of tourism income and local development. This might be a valid strategy for Burgos, but when taking a closer look at where did the growth in traffic come from, a rather different picture emerges, there have been some new charter flights operating at the airport, but they are flying local people out rather than bringing tourists in! So, in practice, the government is subsidising locals to go spend their money elsewhere...does not look like a sustainable growth strategy to me..


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