III Aviation and Tourism Forum

Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE) had the opportunity to attend the III Aviation and Tourism Forum, organised by MEP José Ramón Bauzá last 18 April in Madrid. The aim of the Forum is to connect the aviation and tourism sectors, as both are closely linked. The speakers at this year’s edition were as follows: (i) Felipe Calderón (Former President of Mexico), (ii) Javier Marín (AENA Executive Vice President), and (iii) Simone Gorini (CEO of Iryo).

In his opening remarks, MEP José Ramón Bauzá stressed that no tourism means no transport and no transport means no tourism. Therefore, liberalisation of the sector must be promoted, so that increasing the number of transport options does not mean removing others. In this regard, he concluded that multimodality is the future of transport.

The evening was highly engaging, with the speakers addressing key issues as outlined below. Felipe Calderón (Former President of Mexico) stated that although the progress made in decarbonisation is certainly necessary, more investment is needed, as climate problems are becoming more acute every year, especially in Mexico. According to the World Health Organisation, it is estimated that by 2030 the collateral effects of climate change will cause 250,000 deaths per year, so further investment is needed to bring this statistic down.

Likewise, Javier Marín (AENA) remarked that in 2023, AENA beat the passenger record of 2019, the last year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, last year, AENA´s airports in Spain recorded 283 million passengers, which is 2.9% more than in 2019. Based on these figures, the airport manager expects to close 2024 with around 294 million passengers. Good prospects for the summer season in 2024, with a schedule around 7% higher than in 2023, support this optimism. As a result, AENA brings forward the target of 300 million passengers in Spain to 2025, one year earlier than the Strategic Plan presented in 2022. Javier Marín concluded by announcing that AENA pushes forward its “zero emissions” target by a decade, to be achieved by 2030.

He also stressed that according to the ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts 2023 – 2052, Spain will be the fifth country in the world and the first European country with the highest total passenger traffic in the next almost 30 years. The ranking is led by China, followed by the United States, India and Indonesia. Thus, Javier Marín emphasised the importance of beginning working on a project to extend Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport, as the growth forecasts are highly positive.

Last, Simone Gorini (CEO of Iryo) highlighted that multimodality is the future, and to achieve it, it is necessary to focus on a plan to bring high-speed trains to airports. In that sense, currently, a project to connect the high-speed network with the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport is underway, which will boost rail intermodality and the transformation of Chamartín-Clara Campoamor into a multimodal, sustainable, and connected transport hub.

He concluded by stating that the connection between the high-speed rail network and Barjas airport promotes intermodality, synergies and complementarity between both modes of transport, as well as sustainability.

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