We recently wrote about the airports trying to add value to the travel experience (and boost their incomes) by offering services beyond what they’re known for: shopping, dining and lounges.
Barcelona’s main gateway, El Prat Airport is the latest to embrace the trend, with plans to open a nine-hole golf course and beach club in the airport’s grounds near the terminals.
The development means that travellers facing long waits at the airport will be able to extend their holiday – or start it early – by switching a seat in the terminal for a sun lounger or a round of golf.
The prospect is far removed from the experience at most major airports today, where travellers are confined to the terminal while they wait: whether that time is spent browsing an art gallery, watching a film on the big screen or catching some air in a rooftop garden.
Maribel Pardo, Barcelona El Prat airport’s commercial manager told Terminal U that the golf course and beach resort is about making the best use of its airport-owned land, as well as bringing something new to the airport scene for passengers to enjoy.
“The golf course and beach club have been designed for arriving and departing passengers, including those making connecting flights and spending several hours here,” he says.
More than just an airport
The attractions are one part of the airport’s long-term plans to extend its commercial reach beyond its terminals and runways by building a cluster of businesses on airport-owned land, including hotels and office space.
The buzzword used in the aviation industry to describe this urban development is an ‘airport city.’
“In future, those who use our airport city will be able to use the beach club and golf course too,” Pardo explains.
“We expect the beach club to become operational in summer 2013 and the former El Prat golf course will reopen as an executive golf course with nine holes in 2014.”
The two sites are at an early stage of development and will be managed by a private company.
The company that wins the tender will set the cost for construction, for passengers to use its facilities and how access to the sites will work logistically, Pardo says.
While the focus is on expansion outside the airport, Pardo says the airport intends the beach club to compliment its retail outlets – which remain a major source of revenue for airports.
“The diversity of shops is one of the defining characteristics of the airport – and the mix of local and international brands to cater for everyone,” Pardo says.