As passenger numbers increase and as a bid to compete with larger airports in the region, plans have been put forward to build a second runway at Alicante/Elche airport.
Last year Alicante airport handled 14 million passengers and has airport operator Aena predicting that by 2035 that number will increase to 17 million. These amazing growth predictions have now prompted the Ministry of Development to study the feasibility of building a second runway.
From what we know so far the new runway will run parallel to the existing runway and will be 3,000 meters in length, allowing for the airport to handle 112,240 take-offs and landings per year.
In order to construct a second runway, the airport authorities require 290 hectares (three million square meters) of land, much of it located in the Saladar de Agua Amarga salt marshes.
Regarded as protected wetlands that are home to migrating birds and venerable threatened species of fauna, the proposed runway has angered several environmental groups including the Ecological Colla d`Alacant.
“It seems like savagery and we will vote against it. It invades the salt marsh as well as crossing over the N-332 road. We do not see any sense in it and we hope that the government will think again “, says Carlos Arribas, spokesman for the Colla Ecologista.
After being in operation for more than 50 years Alicante/Elche airport is now the 5th largest airport in Spain employing 6,000 people.