May 22th 2024 | 4:26


Bilbao airport expands

Bilbao Airport

Jesus Carames

April 18, 2024 | 7:07 p.m.

Aena, Spain's airport infrastructure manager, has confirmed the expansion of Bilbao airport, popularly known as 'La Paloma'. This announcement comes in anticipation of the growing capacity requirements as a result of the sustained increase in passengers and air operations, marking a new chapter in the modernization of key infrastructures in Spain.

At a recent shareholder meeting, Maurici Lucena, president and CEO of Aena, outlined the update of the Strategic Plan for 2022-2026 and projected future initiatives for the 2027-2031 period under the DORA III plan. This new plan contemplates the expansion not only of La Paloma but also of other significant airports such as Malaga, Alicante-Elche, Valencia, and several more on the islands and the north of Spain.

Expansion details

The expansion of La Paloma is a direct response to the growing volume of traffic that the airport has experienced, particularly notable when last year it exceeded 6.3 million passengers and 51,400 air operations. These numbers not only recover pre-pandemic volumes but also set new operational records, underscoring the urgent need to expand the airport's capacities.

The functional design of the expansion, which had initially been unveiled in 2009 and consists of two new wings extending from the current terminal, is being reviewed to ensure it meets future needs. This process includes the collection of information and detailed requirements that will help define the final project before its bidding.

Regional impact and future planning

The expansion of La Paloma is not only critical to managing air traffic growth but also to boosting the local and regional economy. Airports act as catalysts for local economic development, generating employment and facilitating tourism and commerce. The expansion will ensure that Bilbao and its metropolitan area can continue its trajectory of growth and development in line with global mobility and connectivity trends.

In addition to Bilbao, Aena has set its sights on the expansion and improvement of infrastructure in other critical points of the country, including island capitals and cities with high tourist and commercial traffic. This holistic approach ensures that the Spanish airport network can compete and operate efficiently in the global aeronautical landscape.


Aena's decision to proceed with the expansion of 'La Paloma' and other airports reflects future-oriented strategic planning, essential to maintain and improve critical infrastructure in an era of accelerated global airport growth. With the horizon set at 2027-2031 for the completion of these projects, Aena's anticipation of future needs positions Spain as a leader in airport management and development in Europe. The community, travelers and related economic sectors can expect significant benefits from these improvements, which will facilitate a better user experience and greater economic opportunities.

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