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Madrid Barajas Airport during the snow storm (Photo: AENA)

Madrid Barajas Airport Aims for Normal Operations Starting Monday

It has been a complicated week for Madrid Barajas Airport in Spain due to the snowstorm “Filomena” that hit the Spanish capital last weekend. On Friday 8 the snow began to fall in Madrid as it has not done it years, in the first hours of the storm Madrid Barajas Airport was able to organize its operation by giving more space between arrivals and departures producing only delays on the flights. However, upon nightfall, the snow began to accumulate on the runway and on the apron. Curiously, the last flight to abandon Madrid Barajas was a domestic charter flight operated by Iberia for the Real Madrid football team destined for Pamplona, where they had to play a match. The Airbus A319 that was operating the flight had to perform several take-off attempts until the final one.

On Friday night the Spanish airport operator announced the cancellations of all flights for next Saturday. That decision also affected flights on Sunday as well as most of the Monday ones. The operation could not be restored until Monday night when, after 72 hours of inactivity, an Air Europa flight to Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, departed at 9:00 pm. With only one operating runway; AENA authorized Madrid Barajas Airport to let departures take place. Preference was given to long-haul flights and to airlines who already had their aircraft at the airport.

During the week, several operations have taken place at the airport to remove the snow and let the aircraft return to operation progressively. Many airlines have faced massive cancellations and delays and were forced to handle grounded passengers. During this weekend, the airport has been able to operate at 80% of its capacity and the airlines expect to return to normality during next week. Iberia has been the first to give numbers about that recovery. The Spanish carrier, which uses Madrid Barajas airport as its main hub, will operate during this weekend at 88% of its capacity, including Iberia Express and Iberia Regional operations. From Monday, they expect to be back to normal and begin to relocate all possible passengers that are still pending of flying.

Iberia has also announced the extension of the flexibility conditions for the change of the flights until January 17. This program allows the clients to change their flights to any other option until March 20. Many other airlines have also confirmed similar conditions while they plan to operate with normality from Madrid Barajas. Nevertheless, the airport will still continue with intense work to maintain the operational use of runways and aprons. Now that the snow is no longer a problem, ice and low temperatures will require an extra effort from the airport authorities as the hub is not used to these hard winter conditions.

Arturo Higueras
Latest posts by Arturo Higueras (see all)
Arturo Higueras
Latest posts by Arturo Higueras (see all)
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