Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (the second largest in Spain) is located 12 km southwest of Barcelona and 6 metres above sea level. The airport has had several popular nicknames such as La Volatería, Aeropuerto del Prat, or the most common of all, Barcelona-El Prat Airport, although the official name is Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport. It has two terminals and three runways, two parallel runways and a cross runway, which allow up to 90 operations per hour. Barcelona-El Prat is the main hub for the airlines Vueling and LEVEL, but 89 other airlines operate there, 70% of which are low-cost airlines.
The 1992 Olympic Games were held in Barcelona, for which the city and the airport were transformed to accommodate the event. Iberia Airport Services (IBAS), as the airport’s sole handling agent at the time, provided service for the entire special operation that took place at the end of July, August and September, including the Reduced Mobility Passengers service during the Paralympic Games. The Madrid-Barcelona corridor route -or Puente Aéreo- continues to be the route in Spain with the highest passenger traffic.
IBAS employs between 1,600 and 2,300 staff (depending on the season) and serves 31 airlines such as Vueling (our main client), Emirates, Turkish Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Level. It is the only Spanish airport where Singapore Airlines flies 5 times a week.
Antonio Rodríguez Aranda, senior manager at Barcelona Airport, explains how they are organised at the stopover: “There are three different work areas: coordination, passengers and ramp, all located in T1 of the airport, although we provide services in both terminals of the airport. During 2020 and 2021, we have worked on developing the versatility of the entire workforce. In fact, around 93% of staff in the passenger area are now able to check-in on three different systems, 100% of coordinators can occupy a console position and the ramp area has merged different quadrants that previously worked as “isolated departments”. In addition, in all areas of the airport, including operational support (planning, human resources, quality, billing services) we work with Kepler, our real-time integrated operational management system. The use of Kepler, together with the deployment of collaborative tools such as Teams, Planner or OneNote from Microsoft Office 365, together with the incorporation of mobile devices, has meant a great advance in the digitalisation of processes – monitoring of the operation in real time, both of companies and of vehicles on the apron that are broken down or badly parked, the status of baggage deliveries, etc. – In this way, adds Rodríguez Aranda, “we are able to manage the operation by combining the dedication required by the HUB operation of our main client, Vueling, with more than 220 flights per day (pre-pandemic), with the diversity of the requirements of the other 30 clients we serve. Of course, this is possible thanks to the commitment of our staff and the collaboration of our suppliers and AENA.
Did you know that at BCN the staff who serve Vueling wear their uniforms?
And that we have four Mototok or electric pushback units?
Joaquín Andrés Yasky, assistant manager of LATAM’s Europe airports, acknowledges that “BCN is one of the top airports, and it is usually where we obtain the best customer satisfaction index”. Last January, the IBAS BCN team was recognised by LATAM as the most punctual stopover in its entire network, in addition to obtaining the best baggage delivery ratio. In February, it achieved the best NPS (net promoting score), i.e. it was the airport most highly valued by passengers, for which LATAM awarded the LATAM bonsai tree, a symbol of customer care and delicacy, as recognition. In March, for the third consecutive month, it was once again the most punctual stopover for this airline, one of the main customers at BCN. “IBAS is always at the height of the best handling, offering us a quality service,” says Yasky.