MADRID – Spain is taking a big step forward in the integration of air and rail traffic. This is part of the new government agreement between PSOE and Sumar, which includes reducing short domestic flights as a measure to utilise AVE high-speed train instead.
Therefore, the AVE high-speed train could reach Madrid’s Barajas airport by 2025. Girona and Alicante airports are also on the waiting list for this connection. The plan aims to eliminate domestic flights that are counterbalanced by a train connection that can cover the same distance in less than two and a half hours.
The plan, inspired by similar initiatives in other European countries, focuses on routes where a fast train alternative is available. Except in the case of connections to major airport hubs offering international routes. Specific details about the implementation of the new rule have not yet been released.
So far, the airlines have not commented on the plans. However, Iberia has already pushed for an accelerated implementation of the high-speed connections to the airports. Madrid-Barajas will be the first airport to benefit from this service, with an expected start in 2025. The new connection will use the existing platform of the Cercanías trains and could extend some trains coming from the Spanish east coast to the terminal T4.
Girona airport, which is just 500 metres from the high-speed line, and El Altet airport in Alicante, Spain’s fifth busiest airport, are also candidates for the expansion of the AVE service. The PSOE and Sumar government program already has plans to realise these connections.
Five routes with train alternatives of around 2.5 hours
In the case of Spain, according to a study by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) for Iberia, only 5 routes have train alternatives around two and a half hours, although in most cases they are longer. Together they operate approximately 60 weekly flights.
Most affected route Madrid – Barcelona
If the restriction is implemented, the route most affected will be the Madrid-Barcelona connection, also known as the “Air Bridge”, which will account for more than half of the total traffic in terms of passenger numbers (1.7 million in 2022 ) represents.