Barcelona airport visit


As we just finished our mid-term exams, we prepared a pretty interesting trip to Barcelona’s Airport “El Prat” (IATA: BCN), the second largest airport of the country after Madrid “Barajas”, with more than 30 million passengers (the 9th busiest airport in Europe). We asked for a special tour designed specifically for us, stressing the more technical side of the airport, something they do not usually do, and we certainly got it.

It all started at Terminal 1 with a visit to CGA (Centro de Gestión Aeroportuaria – Airport Management Center) , an impressive room where they control everything that happens in the airport, from maintenance to security, through 4 stations: Airport Systems Control, Maintenance Center (CEMAN), Operations Coordination Center and Airport Services.

Then, we headed to SATE (Sistema Automático de Tratamiento de Equipajes – Automatic Baggage-Handling System), responsible for delivering passenger’s baggage as soon as they can. It was very surprising to discover how fast they track the baggage from the check-in counter to the plane, as they confirmed to us that the average time was just 5 minutes.

They were very proud of their system, as it is one of the best in Europe, with just 4.5 reports per 1000 baggage, a much lower average than other more renowned airports.

And saving the best for last, the end of the tour brought us to Iberia’s maintenance Hangar, an enormous facility with enough space to do repairing or type C overhauling of some of the biggest airplanes in the market, even the Airbus 380. There, we were honored to have one of their most experienced engineers tell us their work philosophy as well as the complexity of it.

We were also lucky enough to be given some lessons with ongoing reparations, so we were able to see open engines and half-painted wings. We were also able to enter a pilot’s cabin, a first for most of our members. The group was so excited to be this close of in-field work that I truly believe this experience will reaffirm them that their decision to choose this career was right and will inspire them to keep pushing towards their ultimate goal.