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Tenerife South airport 'urgently' needs new terminal
TENERIFE South airport needs a new terminal this year if it is going to be able to cope with any increase in holidaymaker numbers, the Canary Island regional government says.
Its infrastructure and transport deputy minister, Onán Cruz, and tourism minister Cristóbal de la Rosa, have called for budget amendment to allow the popular destination to be expanded.
They say the two existing terminal buildings are not enough to cope with any possible above-average influx of tourists, even if joined together as the national government's airport investment plan includes.
Tenerife-Reina Sofía, otherwise known as Tenerife South, was built in 1978 and has not been significantly modified since.
Back then, nearly 40 years ago, Tenerife did not have anywhere near the volume of tourism it does now, and its structure and facilities are 'out of date' and 'do not have the capacity' required of a modern airport in a major holiday hotspot which welcomes over 11 million passengers a year.
But the Airport Regulation Document (DORA) 2017-2021 has hugely underestimated passenger numbers, Cruz says, meaning funding proposed is 'clearly insufficient'.
The DORA only covers joining the current two terminals together in 2019, and at the moment, Tenerife South airport is 'fit to burst' even out of season, according to the two ministers.
They had already filed a funding request to the national government in July, pointing out that according to forecasts, tourist numbers for the island of El Hierro are expected to treble by the year 2030 and, in response, the DORA had included a 900-metre runway extension.
And Tenerife is likely to see a similar or even larger rise in visitor numbers.
Yet the neighbouring and much smaller island of La Gomera has also had a runway extension approved, despite receiving far fewer tourists.
Cristóbal de la Rosa said airport governing body AENA needed to start investing seriously in the Canary Islands, given that it is 'one of the leading tourist destinations in Europe', and especially in view of the fact that practically everyone who travels to the region goes there by air and residents themselves can only get from one island to another by plane.
He has also urged the Civil Aviation Authority to restore the La Gomera-Gran Canaria air route, which was in operation between 2007 and 2009 inclusive under the banner of 'Public Service Obligation' (OSP), meaning it was considered a necessary facility for the ordinary resident which should be in place whether or not it makes a profit.
For the last eight years, it has only been possible to fly between La Gomera and Gran Canaria via a connecting flight with a stop in Tenerife, making the journey much longer and less convenient.
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