Barcelona Air Route Development Committee (BARDC) Activity Report 2020
In 2019, Barcelona saw a record number of passengers (52m) and 47 intercontinental destinations. In 2020, all 4 members (AENA, Catalonia Government, Barcelona City Council, and Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona) have been given the big challenge to overturn the greatest aviation crisis that we have ever seen in history with the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet our biggest asset to overcome this challenge is the ability to work together on this matter through the BARDC. Furthermore, in 2020 we have made an even greater effort to involve even more other local key institutions such as Acció, Investment Catalonia, Barcelona Tourism Board, Catalan Tourism Board, Fira de Barcelona, BCN Air Freight Community (BCL), along with the Port of Barcelona.
Our greatest initial contribution to tackle the crisis was to push cargo charter flights or any other flights to obtain all the masks, hydrogel, and other first-aid products to support government measures against the pandemic. Indeed, cargo business is now a basic first topic that we need to address with any airline thinking of returning to Barcelona. Catalonia is lucky enough to be an industrial powerhouse that produces pharma products, textiles, and electrical and mechanical equipment, as well as perishable products. An ideal mix to fuel cargo demand.
We can proudly say that the road to recovery has already started even though the rhythm is not as fast as we would like it to be. From the very beginning, the main aim of our plan of action was to keep in touch with our current intercontinental airlines as far as possible. In fact, we successfully created the so-called Barcelona Air Route Meeting Week, a digital meeting week with all airlines in order to exchange views on what Barcelona city and its territory is doing and how airlines are tackling the crisis.
Already in the second and third quarter of the year, we have seen great names coming back to restore routes. Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Level, Avianca, and Emirates all resumed long-haul flights for the transport of essential passengers and above all to serve the cargo demand.
Nobody can assure when the levels of 2019 will be back but BARDC is confident that our biggest drive will come from working together with all institutions and offering the airlines a message of safety, simplicity, and solidarity.