Thursday, 18 June 2009

First look: Barcelona T1

After months of delay, Barcelona El Prat new Terminal (T1) was officially opened yesterday by the primeminister of Spain.

One of the biggest civil engineering projects in Europe, the aluminum roofs cover an area 2.5 times the size of the Camp Nou football stadium (itself the largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of 98,772 seats), home to the city’s mighty football club, which recently won the European Champions League. The total surface area of the airport is the equivelent of a staggering 850 football pitches.

The terminal will almost double capacity at El Prat from around 30 million to 55 million. It has been suggested in the Spanish press that the new terminal will enable El Prat to consolidate its position among Europe's top ten airports. First impressions seem to suggest that it T1 forms a utilitarian counterpoint to the more beautiful and colourful Barajas airport in Madrid, which now has a smaller capacity of 40 million passenger per year.

The retail offering is impressive, 23,866sq m of shopping space, including many famous Spanish brands , including Adolfo Domínguez, Zara and Desigual. With a smattering of international brands, most notably Ferrari. Initially the terminal has 81 shops and catering establishments that will open for business over 2009. Eventually this will be extended to 73 shops and 43 bars and restaurants.

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