The Spanish and Catalan governments have agreed a controversial €1.7 billion expansion of Barcelona´s El Prat Airport.
It is hoped that the expansion will see the airport become a global hub with greater flight connection capability as well as improved road and rail connections for the rest of Spain.
The Spanish government´s announcement hailed the agreement saying that it will create up to 83,000 direct jobs and another 365,000 indirect jobs.
Jordi Puigneró, the Catalan deputy leader said the agreement will allow El Prat to go from “being a low-cost airport to a value-added airport.”
Barcelona airport is the second busiest in Spain after Madrid´s Barajas with over 52 million passenger transits in 2019.
However the airports proposed expansion has been criticised by environmentalists who say it will destroy the natural wetlands of the Llobregat Delta which is home to much animal and bird wildlife.
Whilst the agreement has been concluded by the central and regional goverments the city of Barcelona was not part of the process.
Barcelona´s mayor, Ada Colau, however, accused both of acting ‘secretly’ and said there should be no expansion until local communities have been consulted.
The environmental group Greenpeace released a press statement saying the plans are “incoherent” given the two governments committment to reduce carbon emmisions.
The final decision is expected to be given by the European Commission, with work to start early next year.