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Barcelona airport

General information

Barcelona airport air traffic control  tower

Barcelona-El Prat Josep Tarradellas Airport, or simply Barcelona-El Prat Airport, is located 12 km (7.5 mi) southwest of the Barcelona 6 metres above sea level, between the municipalities of El Prat de Llobregat, Viladecans and Sant Boi. It is located 3 kilometres from the Port of Barcelona and 7 km from the Zona Franca Industrial Estate, one of the most important industrial and logistics parks in Spain and a key factor in Barcelona’s economic strength.

Barcelona airport has had several popular nicknames such as "La Volatería", so called for occupying the land of the first airfield in El Prat del Llobregat (1916, Aeródromo de la Volatería), "Aeropuerto del Prat", or the most common of all, Barcelona-El Prat Airport, so designated in its penultimate official change in 2011. This last denomination has been in force until March 1, 2019, date in which the new designation of Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport was officially made public, which would receive in homage to the former president of the Generalitat de Catalunya from which it takes its name.

Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport is part of the Public Business Entity ENAIRE, Spanish Airports and Air Navigation, which manages almost the entire Spanish airport network. The airport has the IATA airport code BCN and the ICAO code LEBL.

Barcelona-El Prat Airport is the second largest airport in Spain, after Adolfo Suarez-Madrid Barajas Airport, and is the main one in Catalonia and the Mediterranean coast. In 2018, almost 50.2 million passengers (50,172,457) passed through its facilities, ranking it as the 6th European airport in 2018. The airport's growth in 2018 increased by 6.1% compared to 2017, with a total of 47,284,500 million passengers.

According to the World Airport Awards, given by the renowned English consultancy Skytrax, Barcelona-El Prat dropped to 42nd place among the Best Airports in the World in 2018, given its previous 37th position in the 2017 edition; although it currently holds the 2nd position among the Best Airports in Southern Europe. Barcelona was also awarded in 2018 with the prize for the 8th best airport in the category of Airports between 40-50 million passengers.

The airport is the main headquarters of Vueling and LEVEL airlines, and has established itself as one of the main low-cost airports in Europe in recent years. It is also an important hub for scheduled airlines with direct connections to the United States and Canada, South America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Madrid-Barcelona air shuttle continues being the route with Spain's busiest passenger.


Barcelona Airport has 3 take-off and landing zones, thus obtaining 3 runways in service, two in parallel called 07L/25R and 07R/25L, and a cross, runway 02/20.

It has two passenger terminals, terminal T1 and terminal T2. Recent changes in the structure of terminal T2 have meant that what used to be three different terminals, terminal A, terminal B and terminal C, are now united in a single terminal, terminal T2.

Barcelona El Prat Airport is accessible by metro, train and bus from the centre of Barcelona, in addition to a permanent taxi service, and is connected to the rest of the provinces by long-distance bus lines. In the near future, the connection with the high-speed AVE line is also planned.

Terminal T1 level structure
Terminal T1 level structure

Barcelona metro/Subway stations Aeroport T2 and Aeroport T1

The long-awaited L9 line of Barcelona Metro, especially the section linking the stations of the Zona Universitària and the T1 terminal at Barcelona Airport, went into operation in February 2016.

Metro line L2 is also scheduled to arrive at the airport, and although in principle there is no fixed date it is expected to be before 2020.

Remodeling of the commercial area

At the end of 2012, and coinciding with a change in the direction of the airport -now in charge of Sonia Corrochano-, Aena launched a tender for the awarding of the operation of new stores in the commercial area in terminals T1 and T2. The company World Duty Free Group was awarded in this tender.

In 2015, AENA completed the first phase of commercial renovation of terminal T1, with a prominent area dedicated to luxury products and major firms in cosmetics and fashion. Major brands of recognized prestige have been added to the existing offer since then, providing the commercial area with a great experience for airport users in an area of more than 20,000 m2.

New premises continue to be incorporated to complement the Shopping Center area, La Plaza and the check-in area at the T1 terminal of Barcelona El Prat Airport, offering luxury products related to the fashion and accessories, shoe, lingerie, costume jewellery and cosmetics sectors with a quality standard comparable to other European airports.

The total area of shops is 11,950 m2 and the area for Duty Free shops is 3,853 m2, with 50 duty paid shops and five duty free points of sale (without taxes).

Silent airport

Barcelona Airport El Prat behaves like a silent airport. This is because it has reduced the amount of information messages to the public issued by public address system. In this way, it contributes to making the stay more pleasant and silent both for travellers and their companions, as well as for the airport employees themselves.

The elimination of these messages applies only to the boarding and last call messages of the automatic public address system, which were heard in the Sky Center shopping area of T1 and in the common area prior to the boarding modules of T2, with the exception of contingency situations. The rest of the messages will continue to be broadcast without any change. Local public address messages will also continue to be broadcast in the area next to the boarding gate.

As a reinforcement of this measure, new flight information monitors have been incorporated in the catering area, and these incorporate a warning about going to the boarding gate with sufficient time indicated by the airline itself.