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San Javier Airport expands timetable

Despite a tricky start to the year, with passenger numbers failing 4% in the last 6 months of 2008 due to the continuing worldwide economic crisis, the airport at San Javier is set to expand and allow flights throughout the day from next March.

The news will be welcomed by weary holidaymakers and travellers who have in the past arrived in Spain on late night flights due to the airports operating restrictions. For the first time in the airports history, commercial flights will be allowed access to the airport in daytime hours.

Airlines have been asking for years for a chance to use the airport during daytime hours, and the expansion opens up a real window of opportunity for both commercial and private charter flights to Murcia.

The announcement was made by the Governments representative Rafael Gonzales Tovar earlier this week during a visit to tour the airport. Since the opening of the airport more than 30 years ago, San Javier has been used by the Military as an operational base, meaning that civil flights were only allowed to use the airport during the evening.

Eventually, early morning flights to the business centres of Madrid and Barcelona were permitted, mainly due to demand by local business people for quick shuttle flights to the cites.

However, with the opening of the second runway allowing daytime flights San Javier is now set to become an expanding and competitive tourist destination. The new runway 2000 metres long and 45 metres wide will be used by the military planes. This will free up the existing runway for the larger commercial planes and will finally place San Javier on an equal commercial footing with other airports across the world.

Work on the new runway is estimated to be completed in October 2008, allowing plenty of time to complete any remaining technical work prior to the start of the 2009 summer season.

Investment in the facilities at San Javier will see around 30 million Euros spent on the improvements, including the expansion of the arrival and departures area, a new luggage hall and a new trolley park.

The new measures will be extremely popular amongst the British visitors who currently account for around 85% of San Javier’s two million arrivals each year.

With respect to the new airport opening in Corvera, set to open in 2010, the regional government say that the management of both airports needs to be considered to improve the service that the region can offer to both businesses and passengers.

The changes to San Javier will be operational by April 2009 meaning that the region of Murcia will be “open for business” well in time for the influx of foreign tourist next summer.

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