6) AVV of Gavà Mar opposed from the start the location selected to place the Barcelona airport's third runway. They denounced the grave situation that would arise with its operation (a situation completely confirmed over time) and they proposed an alternative location over the sea. News published in the press on this topic

A) What position did AVV take on the expansion of the Barcelona airport ?

B) What was the valuation of the selected location for the third runway ?

C) What was AVV of Gavà Mar's alternative proposal ?

D) What other proposals did AVV of Gavà Mar suggest ?



Let's save Gavà Mar !! (1999)

AVV de Gavà Mar

AVV of Gavà Mar argued that the expansion of the airport should be as respectful as possible to:

  • People
  • Populated urban zones or public use zones
  • Fauna and vegetation, especially the ZEPA zones

All this combined with the fact that the Barcelona airport is limited in its expansion due to its geographical enclave means that future investment should be consistent with it and thoroughly researched.

From studies done on other areas of Europe such as London or Paris, we can conclude that these support a greater movement of travelers. This is due to the NETWORK of four airports that exist in the area of London and the NETWORK of three airports in Paris.

Therefore, it would be more advantageous for Catalonia and for the Barcelona area to consider alternative locations and investments for the future absorption of air traffic, movement of travelers and commodities… to encourage the economic take off of other zones.

The Barcelona airport's future growth is limited by two basic factors:

  • The lack of adjacent lands for the future construction of a fourth runway and the impossibility -according to geological and geotechnical studies- of constructing a runway over the sea at a distance of more than 1,500 meters from the coastline. This is due to the sharp drop-off of the marine floor on an unstable embankment where continuous landslides and earth movement occur.
  • The proximity of the populated zones limits the airport perimeter as well as its security zone and aeronautic facilities.



Future consequences of the new runaway over Gavà Mar

AVV of Gavà Mar detected the following problems arising from the location selected by the analysis committee for the third runway:

  • It's a runway with a limited longitude situated between two ZEPA zones
  • The risk of collision with birds that nest in these zones during the phases of greater risk (takeoff and landing) is extremely great. Annually, around 15 impacts with birds are reported on the main runway and on the transverse runway, some of them having provoked considerable damage to the aircraft, for example halting the engine.
  • The approximation or takeoff maneuvers from the new third runway take place over the ZEPA zones and thus the possibility of colliding with birds is greater, risking human lives or, in the best case, causing considerable material damage.
  • The runway's short longitude limits its use to certain models of aircrafts in the takeoff phase.
  • Its location would prevent the transverse runway from being used, thus the airport would continue to have only two operational runways.
  • With the new runway configuration, takeoffs would no longer operate from the transverse runway. With this, the situation in Gavà Mar was anticipated to be CHAOTIC AND UNSUSTAINABLE

The Barcelona airport, despite being surrounded by towns, has an enviable geographic location, which includes a first order ally: the SEA. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the possibility of executing takeoff and landing maneuvers in the direction of the sea as a favorable alternative because there are no obstacles or towns

In this way a greater security degree would be achieved and the environmental impact would favor people and towns, without affecting the operation of the airport



AVV of Gavà Mar supported the construction of a new metropolitan airport but, if a third runway had to be built, it should be situated along the coastline with the following characteristics: News published in the press on this topic

  • Parallel to the present main runway (runway 07-25)
  • Its south end (the future 07R end) would start in the extreme end of the transverse runway (20) -this last one expanded to 3,500 meters- without crossing.
  • Its north end (the future 25L end) would be situated at the height of the present canal to the right of the Llobregat River.
  • 100% operative runway
  • Compatible with the two already existing runways (07-25) and (02-20), making available three runways that would be completely operative conjunctively.
  • With a longitude of 4.000 meters.
  • To gain security of flight operations and its components.
  • To reduce the environmental sound impact on the people and on the adjacent towns.
  • To respect the protected zones (ZEPA). Therefore, a subterranean tunnel should be constructed underneath the new runway to connect the spilling out of the Ricarda Lagoon into the sea and to maintain the saline surroundings
  • It would not be necessary to divert the Castelldefels highway (C-31)


  • Security: being a runway of greater longitude whose approximation trajectories do not cross over the ZEPA zones nor do they fly over populated zones, therefore reduces the grave risk of collision with birds. Moreover, takeoff and approximation trajectories do not fly below 1,500 feet and do not pass over any populated zones, flying over the sea (an obstacle-free area) instead.
  • Feasibility: being an actual third runway, it does not block the use of runway 20 (transverse) and it is suitable for all kinds of aircraft under any possible circumstance (dry, wet runway, wind…). It allows for segregated operations, dependent and independent runways, making it possible to reach and surpass 90 operations per hour.
  • Minimum Environmental Impact: the same on urban zones as on protected zones.
  • Expansion of the airport's perimeters: with sufficient land for the location of the necessary aeronautic facilities and areas for the airport system.



  • Physical loss of the El Prat Beach area


AVV of Gavà Mar believes that the proposal to locate the third runway chosen by the research analysis committee would make any reasonable use of the El Prat Beach impractical due to its nearness to the airport's security perimeter and the grave noise pollution that would be created.

In any case, the alternative proposal's impact on the coast would be comparable to that of the construction of a port and less than the impact of the expected Barcelona port expansion. In compensation, there would be notable advantages for the rest of the surroundings, especially for the people.



AVV of Gavà Mar's Alternative Proposal

AVV of Gavà Mar also wanted to put on the record that the intention of creating a great loading center in the Barcelona airport had various disadvantages:

  • The operation of cargo planes in specific time zones slows down operations, given that some of these aircrafts are light and very slow.
  • Part of the operation of cargo planes occurs at night, which creates a greater noise level in this conflictive time zone.

The solution in other areas of Europe such as in London, Paris or Frankfurt has been to create load distribution centers in neighboring airports that have a lesser volume of traffic. In Barcelona's case, the Reus airport is available, being well connected to the Barcelona area by highway and also close to the Tarragona port. It would be interesting if they were to promote a specialized air loading center there, so as to enhance the airport economic development and activities.

Finally, it is suitable to bring forward the fact that the future expansion of the Barcelona airport will reach a point of saturation in a few years. It is difficult to specify the exact period of time but it could be around 20 years. Before reaching this point, it would be convenient to look for and reserve land surfaces where it would be possible to develop the future airport of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona. It could be in the region of Penedès, which unites the following conditions:

  • An area well connected by highway (including two freeways), train (suburb line and the future high-speed line) and close to the great area of Barcelona.
  • Area in which there are large scarcely populated expanses