Boom times are back: Record-breaking Malaga Airport sees 20 million passengers in 2023 – the most in its 104-year history

MALAGA Airport has welcomed 20 million passengers in a year for the first time in its 104-year history, setting a new record. 

This achievement beats the previous high of 19.858 million passengers from 2019, and signals that tourism in the region has well and truly bounced back from the Covid nightmare.

Since early 2023, Malaga Airport has been breaking traffic records, with July seeing the highest number of passengers and operations in its history. 

Notably, July 30 witnessed a record 86,396 travellers pass through in a single day.

This week’s announcement by Aena, the airport management company, confirms that by just October, the airport had nearly reached the 20 million mark and 11.7% extra flights.

Airport staff gathered together to mark the achievement – from airline representatives, ground support agents, commercial lessees, to security forces and other staff. Credit: Aena

Airport staff celebrated the historic moment with a grand gathering, led by airport director Pedro Bendala and control tower chief Raúl Delgado. 

The event brought together the entire airport community – from airline representatives, ground support agents, commercial lessees, to security forces and other staff.

Travellers were treated to the traditional Malaga sweet, ‘locas’, bringing a touch of local flavour to the celebrations. 

The historic milestone is just one of many this year.

The airport recorded 2.2 million passengers in October- 17.1% more than a year ago, Aena.

Passengers were treated to a ‘lorca’ sweet in celebration of the milestone. Credit: Aena

It means that Malaga remains the third busiest mainland airport in the Aena network, only surpassed by Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona El Prat, as well as the fourth in Spain, overtaken by Palma de Mallorca.

Aena said there were 15,585 flights departing from or arriving on the Costa del Sol, which represents ‘a year-on-year increase’ of 10.5%.

“The growth in activity at the airport is down to the good performance of both domestic and foreign traffic,” said Aena in a statement.

The United Kingdom still leads international passengers by a long way, even though the numbers have not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

Up to 541,000 passengers were British nationals in October, followed by 182,000 from Germany.

The next countries producing the highest number of international visitors were the Netherlands, with almost 130,000 travellers in October; France, with another 128,000; and Ireland, with more than 102,000.

Malaga also expects a good flow of visitors from the US this winter and, in addition, it has brought forward its direct connection with New York from June to May next year.


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