Yeah, there are some airports that are a bit of a waste (Castellón and León come to mind here), but Murcia is a heavily used airport to an area that has poor rail connections to the rest of the country and would be quite far from Madrid regardless.
Yeah, Ciudad Real was a mess, but that was private money. In case nobody has ever been around there, there's a whole lot of nothing so no real reason not to let a bunch of private investors give construction jobs for awhile even if you don't agree with their plan.
You can add this airport to the list that are a waste of money. It might have started off as a private venture, backed only politically by the regional government (many of whose members have been involved in corruption scandals). One ex president of the region, now EuroMP famously said that it would not cost Murcians a single Euro. It turns out to have cost hundreds of millions of Euros as the loan guarantee was executed and so had to paid by the taxpayers of this already impovrished region of Spain. Further costs have arisen from road links, promotion money to the tune of €4.1 million Euros so far and bus links. Neither promotion of bus links was something that the current airport never benefited from and yet manages to be profitable, to be growing month after month for over 2 years running and has won the prize for best airport in the under 2m passenger category 3 times in the last few years!
MJV is an important Spanish Air Force base and the civil operations were limited as a consecuence. MJV will be now fully dedicated to its militar role and RMU will be used to allow airlines to open more destinations and increase traffic, if they want to. That is something they could not do at MJV, as there were limits for civil aviation flights.
There are no restrictions anymore. Not since 2012 due to a dedicated runway being built for the Air Force (see below).
It is also not true that RMU will be used by more airlines. In fact BA and Aer Lingus have decided not to move there at all, despite having operated at MJV.
Team Merica! Sorry, couldn't resist.
. If you haven't seen that puppet movie, you are better off not knowing.
I too hope this increases traffic. Airport expansion is usually a good thing.
Sadly this is not really expansion. It is simply a relocation of an airport, closer to the capital city of the province, but further away from its main asset, namely the coast.
The current airport is only at one third of its capacity. It had a new runway completed in 2012 to ensure that the former restrictions where civilian traffic was not permitted at certain hours of the day was lifted.
It is already apparent that some airlines are not keen on the new airport and expect less demand. British Airways and Aer Lingus that had flights to Murcia-San Javier will not be serving the new "international" facility. jet2 that had 4 UK routes will be slashing its flights by half: It will keep the routes from Manchester and Leeds-Bradford but will not move Edinburgh or Newcastle. Moreover, Manchester is only being kept with fewer frequencies: 3 weekly instead of the 5 at MJV. Ryanair which is the by far the biggest airline in Murcia is keeping all UK and Dublin frequencies but not moving those from Eindhoven and Frankfurt International. Only one new route has been announced for the new airport: Asturias at 2 weekly from end of May until end of August. Quite ironic then that the new airport is referred to as "international", when it will be less so.
You may ask, why would airlines not move to a new facility which is relatively close and that has a shiny new terminal?
The answer is that Alicante Airport is also relatively close and for a sizeable segment of people from Northern Europe, particularly the UK and Ireland with a holiday home or just a retirement or second residence in the Torrevieja area, and who found Murcia-San javier to be closer in distance and easy to use, the new airport will offer no or little advantage over Alicante, which has many more airlines and destinations. jet2 is increasing capacity in ALC, where it will even use Airbus A330 on one of its daily flights from MAN.
It will be interesting to keep an eye on the figures for the new "international" airport. It is inheriting more capacity by Easyjet who has got more flights this winter than the previous one, but the summer is looking like a 10% reduction in capacity with the aforementioned cuts.Further falls are likely the following seasons as the airlines that copy and pasted their schedules (Ryanair, Easyjet, Norwegian and Tui Fly Belgium) adjust capacity to reflect the real demand at the new airport.
Looking ahead, I can see a BCN by Vueling route working given the connections available there, but the dreams that many local politicians were selling of flight to all of Europe and beyond will not materialise, least of all when a new rail link open that will connect Alicante airport direct with the Murcian capital. A faster train with MAD coming in the Spring that would reduce the journey time to 3 hours will also make it less likely that a MAD route is reinstated.