Malaga Airport and its hidden problems

I noted with interest Claude Link’s letter (EWN edition 1367) concerning the lack of ‘pick up’ parking places for private vehicles outside the arrivals hall at Malaga Airport.

I know of no International Airport that encourages this. Whereas it’s simple and quick to drop off passengers at the departure terminal, it’s a totally different situation at the arrivals area.

Even carefully planning your ‘meet and greet’ things can go wrong and you could end up blocking a pick-up parking slot for a long time. Further more the slots would be used for people going shopping!

I accept that the airport third terminal (T3) is poorly designed and gives me the impression that those responsible looked at such airports as Chap Lap Kok, Changi, Kuala Lumpur and decided lots of glass walls and moving walkways or escalators was the way to go but failing to incorporate the more practical features of these airports.

The short term car park serving T3 arrivals is too far away and has to be served by a moving walkway which should of course be used to assist passengers, especially those with small children, on air side to get from the security to the aircraft gate.

There is, however, a small ‘express’ car park closer to T3 arrivals for picking up passengers, this comes with a premium charge of course. The second runway is about to be commissioned. Parallel runways are used throughout the world and this speeds up arriving and departing aircraft.

Aircraft land and take off at the same time and separation can be as low as 90 seconds. However it is reported that the Malaga runways are in fact ‘quasi- parallel’ runways. Quasi- parallel?

The Malaga Airport runways converge on each other at 14 degrees, I’m struggling to find another airport to have converging runways. My old grandson who is under the age of 5, with his limited knowledge of trigonometry, tells me that the extended runway centre lines will cross at approximately 6 miles to the North at a converging angle of 14 degrees, this cross over is a little north west of Churriana.

I give you one scenario for a possible accident, there are others.

An aircraft departs from the left runway in a northerly direction and climbs away normally. At the same time an aircraft is landing on the right hand runway in the same direction, this aircraft decides to abort; it happens.

It follows the strict go-around procedures, which would be something like: apply full power, wheels up, flaps to take off and climb straight ahead until you have safe speed to manoeuvre.

This clean up could take up to two minutes – six miles – crossing through the path of the aircraft taking off, and if it was at the same height we have a mid air  collision.

I concede that there are probably procedures in place to try to deal with this situation but with the sudden changes of visibility due to horrific storms that Malaga has during the winter and controllers that leave their work stations, it definitely puts the chances of a fatal accident much higher than if the runways were really parallel.

I think you’ll agree Claude, this tends to demise the pick up car parking problems…

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