Andorra will be able to have night flights at the Andorra – La Seu airport. It's been more than a year since we talked about the Madrid-Andorra flights, offered by Air Nostrum, carried out at this same airport. Well, this airport was completely abandoned and there was nothing, not even a lighting system, there.
Installation of night lighting
But this situation changed in September-October 2022, when the installation of the infrastructure to put up the necessary lights so that the Andorra – La Seu airport could finally operate at night. These works have had a cost of approximately 1 million euros assumed by the Generalitat of Catalonia.
The works have consisted of installation of three lighting towers with LEDs and eleven light towers with collection and solar energy batteries. The runway has also been adapted with obstacle lights, leds and pipes on the sides, and an aerodrome lighthouse has been installed in the control tower. Adaptation works have also been carried out on the airport road, which have involved renewing the signage, repairing the beacons and the security barrier, as well as cleaning the drainage and embankments. Here we can see a video of the complete night flight installation.
The new lighting will allow to expand the operations of the airport, also facilitating it during the hours in which there is no natural light. However, and to reduce the visual and energy impact, they will only come on in case there are operations. Thus, flight slots will be extended, something also relevant for Catalonia as employment at the airport will increase.
Ready for night flight certification
So that, the lighting system is ready for certification, after having successfully passed the drills carried out testing takeoffs and landings with the new runway and apron lights on, which will have to allow night flights. This will be borne by the State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA), that will certify the works and grant the necessary permits to be able to use the lights. The technicians of said agency are currently visiting the airport in recent days.
The latest validation tests have been carried out by Enaire, the Spanish air navigation manager. The residents of Aravell were surprised by the red lights and the beacon signs in the profile of the mountain, as they could be seen from the road. Airports in CataloniaFor his part, he confirmed the information and alerted the residents that the tests will continue for the next few days. This step was essential to make the Andorran airport more operational and establish a greater number of air connections.
Relationship between the Government of Andorra and the Generalitat
Both the Government and the Generalitat have expressed satisfaction of the works. Gallardo has highlighted the efforts of both the Government and the Generalitat "to make this infrastructure grow", capital in Andorra for the disenclave strategy that the country has. It has also celebrated the effort to obtain the necessary aeronautical certifications in order to consolidate the commercial aspect of the Andorra-La Seu Airport. In addition, he referred to the next challenge for the facility, which is to provide it with a control point for people and merchandise control and to strengthen the Andorra-La Seu airport with flights from outside the Schengen area.
Even the most skeptical have recognized the success of this start-up of flights from La Seu, through the concession to Air Nostrum and with the aim of attracting new operators in "premium schedules" that allow "higher occupancy rates" of the planes. We will see how the expansion works as an international infrastructure to manage longer and more bureaucratic flights.
For his part, the Regional Minister of the Generalitat, Juli Fernàndez, stressed that the will of both institutions is “strengthen the infrastructure to continue creating opportunities in the territory; Expanding the operating hours is also expanding the opportunities”. Fernàndez has also referred to the "intense, coordinated and fruitful" collaboration between the Government and the Generalitat.
The Generalitat de Catalunya will bear the cost of all the works, as provided for in the agreement signed with Andorra in this regard: the agreement dealing with marketing with regular flights between La Seu d'Urgell and Madrid. In addition, it is planned to launch a second route yet to be decided.
Next flight airlines
The The next scheduled connections from the Andorra-La Seu airport will be flights with Palma de Mallorca, Paris and London, we will see if they are nocturnal, diurnal or both. For this purpose, the launches of the contests already in this 2023. Of these three destinations, the most difficult is London, since the United Kingdom has been left out of the Schengen area after Brexit and that means that it does not have full freedom of movement, nor of people. Thus, this line of flights will require the establishment of a customs point at the Catalan-Andorran airport.
In addition, it is planned to open a new hourly frequency of night flights to Madrid at more attractive times for future users (tourists and Andorran residents).