Interview to Eugenio Pérez Luengo, airport of Seville's director

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Oct 1, 2012


The airport of Seville is one of the infrastructures historically linked to the Andalusian aerospace industry, with which it keeps a close relationship nowadays, especially with its main OEM company, Airbus Military. During the interview with the director of the airport, Eugenio Pérez Luengo, he highlights the role of the aeronautics in Andalusia, as well as the process of transformation of this kind of facilities in the last years. “We have passed from just channelling the air traffic to become business centres involved in the development of local economies”, remarks.

The Airport of Seville is one of the facilities involved in the Andalusian aerospace indus­try, but what is its role within the aerospace development? How the Airport of Seville is encouraging this growth un­dertaken in the last few years within our region?

The Airport of Seville plays a significant role as a supporting infrastructure for the aerospace industry. We keep a close collabo­ration with OEMs, putting at their disposal not only our facilities and services, but also the execution of works to improve and ease their activity.

Like that, the airport has been assisting flight tests of impor­tant types like the A400M or the A380; we have undertaken a new running road to speed up Airbus Military aircrafts towards our runway; and we have been very committed to boosting the instal­lation of aerospace suppliers and service enterprises on the site of the airport, which entails benefits in terms of synergies and rapidity of the productive processes or maintenance.

In relation to that last fact, last year the Airport of Seville signed an agreement of collaboration with IDEA –agency under the Regional Ministry of Economy, Innovation Science and Employ­ment- to help the installation of high added value, innovative and business projects on the site of the airport. These sites could be considered to be part of the Aero­space and Technological Park of Andalusia Aerópolis.

Enterprises willing to get in­stalled on this site may be provid­ed with supporting services and financial backing by IDEA under the programme to foster innova­tive enterprises, as well as the national and regional incentives for companies installed at techno­logical parks.

One of the advertising initia­tives recently started is the organization of an exposition about the Andalusian aero­space history. How passen­gers are welcoming this ex­hibition? Are there any other initiatives to strengthen the re­lationship between the airport and the Andalusian aerospace enterprises and entities?

To tell you the truth, it is being very favourably received. There are a number of passengers who stop by before the boarding area and in the corridor towards the luggage claim to quickly and il­lustratively look over the exhibi­tion and the one hundred years of aerospace industry and avia­tion in Andalusia. This has been a very smart Hélice Cluster’s initia­tive, because there is still a lack of knowledge about the importance of Andalusia in the origin, devel­opment and international expan­sion of the aerospace industry.

On the other hand, the airport is a fantastic showcase for this exhibition, notably if you take into consideration the nearly five mil­lion annual passengers that pass by our premises with international and national arrivals and depar­tures.

From the airport, we are willing to collaborate with all this kind of initiatives but also with activities related to the productive proc­esses as I commented before.

Airbus Military is one of the aerospace companies using San Pablo airport facilities on a regular basis. How is the collaboration with such a company? What did the FAL setup involve for the airport?

The understanding between the two parts has been always very good. As per the A400M FAL of Airbus being in Seville has been an asset for us since we are very much committed to im­prove the quality of our services and facilities and has enabled us to gain valuable knowledge and experience. In fact, we have dem­onstrated ourselves that we are highly capable of satisfying very demanding requirements which go further our traditional activity.

The airport has recently opened a new parking for customers. Has this been car­ried out to satisfy the current demand or are you expect­ing an increment of travellers within the next few years?

When managing airports, capa­bility of prevision, going ahead of future mid-and-long-term necessi­ties, is one of the key premises to avoid overbooking situations. The new five-floor parking has been started thinking of the future traf­fic growth at the Airport of Seville. Thanks to this, we have today up­wards of 3,700 parking places for our users, which should be added by 1,200 more for rental cars and twentyish for buses.

Are you planning short-and-mid-term any improvement or creation of new facilities?

In the last few years we have carried out works to satisfy the current demand and that future demand from now to 2025, so we haven’t planned big projects or investments. We will keep improv­ing and diversifying our service portfolio and getting it segmented to serve all the different profiles of our customers and users, provid­ing a variety of products at any sales point and encouraging the local economy through the devel­opment of industrial initiatives…

What scope of flights does the airport have nowadays? Which are the goals for the coming years? Do you think that setting new airlines must be fostered or rather widen­ing services of those that are already operating in Seville?

Our goal is having as many routes and air companies as pos­sible, but this business, just like any other, is marked by the law of supply and demand. If there is enough demand, there will come more air companies, and those that already are with us, will in­clude new destinations to their programs.

In spite of that, the airport has been participating for the last two years in Impulso Destino Se­villa (IDS), an initiative where there also participate the Town Council of Seville, the Provincial Council and the Chamber of Commerce, and whose purpose is being in permanent contact with airlines in order to show them our opportu­nities and to draw their attention to operate in the city.

Currently, there have been detected potential markets like Germany, Switzerland and Nordic countries, without forgetting the connections with main Europe­ans hubs (London, Paris, Frank­fort, Amsterdam), which, on their turn, allow us to be connected with other countries inside and outside Europe.

With regard to the airport as infrastructure, our mission is fa­cilitating the air companies the development of their operating methods and having enough services and capabilities as to house all of them. Being ready to answer the necessities of any airline operating with us, or that wants to operate in our facilities. This summer, for instance, a doz­en of companies have been oper­ating with flights to forty Spanish and foreign cities. Three of these companies have been included to the programs as novelty: Iberia Express, Volotea and Air France.

At the end of October, the pro­gram will change to open the win­ter season, that will be kept until the last weekend of March and that will be fitted according to the demand of those months.

Our goal is having as many routes and air companies as possible, but this business is marked by the law of supply and demand"

What is the balance of pas­sengers and activity in the air­port of Seville during the first 10 months of 2012? What is expected for 2013?

2011 was the best year for the history of the airport, with almost 5 million passengers. The current economic situation has inter­rupted the growing trend reached during that year, and, from the beginning of 2012, the number of passengers has slightly de­creased more than 10%. Spain is suffering more than other coun­tries with the crisis and it can be noticed in the domestic flights.

Regarding the previsions for the next year, it is quite difficult to make a precise estimation in advance and in a changing background, but we believe that there will be an increase but, ob­viously, moderate.

Do you consider the airport sector as an area with future for the aeronautical profes­sionals looking for a first job? Which are the most de­manded areas?

From a global point of view, the airport sector still has a great potentiality of develop­ment, due to the important demand of air traffic in emerg­ing countries. The Aerospace Engineering specializing in Air­ports offers a great potential of development, particularly with regard to construction of new airports, enlargement of others already existing, consultancy or management externalization, as nowadays is happening in many countries.

Also, there is a great oppor­tunity for those who have been recently graduated, since a wide range of skills is demanded, mainly, in the areas of Airport Facilities Maintenance, and As­sistance to Navigation, Airport Operations, Operational Secu­rity and Personal Security.

From a global point of view, the airport sector still has a great potentiality of development, due to the important demand of air traffic in emerging countries"

Which are the main chal­lenges for the airport sector and air transport in Spain and Andalusia regarding the coming years?

From an airport point of view, which is the segment where I work, I would like to say that we are witnesses of a real transfor­mation. We have passed from being just infrastructures chan­nelling the air traffic, to become real business centres, more and more involved in the develop­ment of local economies.


Only in the Airport of Seville, there are 2,400 people working and more that a hundred com­panies; in the last year, all the commercial and catering sup­ply has been transformed; we have an agreement with IDEA, as I mentioned before; we have more and more segmented and customized services according to the different demanding pro­files.

Another main challenge is the sustainability. In Aena Aeropuer­tos, we are really committed not only to the respectful environ­mental management, but also to the implantation of measures helping the control of practices in companies working at our premises.

What do you think about the excessive supply of airports that has been created in Spain? Is it necessary a re­view of the airport system?

That is just the project where the Ministry for Public Works is immersed in, through an Airport Efficiency Plan. The plan is for the smallest facilities in the net­work and it wants to adequate the services supply to the real demand.

On the other hand, for the to­tal group of Aena Aeropuertos, there is a strong commitment with regard to costs control and diversification of income sources, through a wider scope of international business and a committed development of our commercial area reinforcing, on its turn, the search for new routes through the department of airport marketing.

The final goals of these initia­tives are efficiency and profitabil­ity.