It’s now looking increasingly certain that Murcia Airport will move from San Javier to Corvera, 30kms away. The airport in San Javier (officially called the Murcia-San Javier Airport) is just an hour south of Alicante Airport, the fifth busiest airport in the country. It’s also far smaller than Alicante Airport. Yet in recent years, Murcia’s small airport has consistently been one of Spain’s most profitable airports with over a million passengers a year travelling through it.
Located on the coast and easily accessible to beaches in Spain’s Costa Calida, Murcia-San Javier Airport is particularly popular with tourists. This, alongside the introduction of low-cost airlines to the airport, has been the main driver for its success. And there’s no sign that the Costa Calida’s popularity is going to lessen anytime soon. The new airport in Corvera, on the other hand, is 30kms from the coast and further away from tourist favourite, La Manga del Mar Menor.
AENA will manage the new airport
Really, San Javier’s fate was set in motion years ago with the decision to build a bigger and state-of-the-art airport in Corvera. But it hasn’t been easy for the new airport. Whether it was a good decision or not, the financial crisis and economy’s nosedive certainly didn’t help. And despite the airport’s completion in 2012, it remained closed. For a time, some thought it may never even open. However, more recently, things have started to look up for Murcia-Corvera Airport. Concrete progress was made when officials awarded the contract to manage the new airport to AENA last month. Frequent visitors to Spain will already be familiar with AENA as the state-owned company manages the vast majority of Spain’s airports including Murcia-San Javier Airport. And as popular as the region has become, it’s far from needing two airports. Especially with Alicante Airport only an hour or so away.
The decision to award AENA the contract sealed Murcia-San Javier Airport’s fate. Because why compete with yourself? AENA has already said that it plans to move operations from San Javier to Corvera and that it will eventually close the former. Who knows what would have happened if another company had got the contract! Interestingly, AENA was only awarded the contract after French company Edeis withdrew from the process. And AENA was the only one left in the game. Indeed, AENA being ‘the last man standing’ could well be what saves Corvera from being a complete disaster. Afterall, AENA was always going to be best placed to remove the competition.
The new Region of Murcia International Airport
When the new airport does open, it will officially be called the Region of Murcia International Airport. Although I’m guessing it’ll quickly be shortened to Murcia Airport after the airport in San Javier closes. For passengers, the good news is that Corvera’s airport is brand spanking new and can manage over three million passengers a year. The bad news is that its location doesn’t appear to be as convenient for the coast as San Javier. There is an exception to this, however… The new airport will actually be a little closer to beaches around Puerto Mazarron and Bolnuevo. And good transport links as well as a good selection of car hire companies will hopefully help to reassure those who prefer San Javier’s location.
No timetable yet…
So when’s it all going to happen? The timetable for civilian operations to move from San Javier to Corvera is still unknown. Although, there has been speculation that it could start this year and that the two will co-exist for a short period of time. Again, whether this second point turns out to be true and for how long is uncertain. According to a report in Murcia Today, AENA president Jaime Garcia-Legaz is hopeful that Corvera will open in 2018. Whether he’s right to be hopeful will become clearer in the coming months.
Map of Murcia and surrounding area
Below, we’ve mapped where the old (San Javier) and new (Corvera) airports are. You can see them in relation to notable places of interest such as Cartagena and Murcia that are both attractive cities to visit. We also included Murcia Station.