Will the Principality of Andorra soon be accessible by plane thanks to the future airport of Pas de la Casa?
Will it soon be possible to reach the Principality directly by plane? A project led by the Chamber of Commerce of the country is under study but several obstacles to its implementation have not yet been lifted. Let’s see the current challenges around a potential future airport of Pas de la Casa in Andorra.
Future Pas de la Casa airport in Andorra: where is the project now?
The current situation
Since 2015, following political and financial agreements between the Spanish authorities and those of the Principality, the aerodrome (built in the early 1980s) of the Seu d’Urgell, a Spanish city located 12 km south of the Andorran border , is officially considered the airport of Andorra. Commercial planes linking Andorra, Spain and France are thus possible.
However, the authorities of the country do not hide their desire to have a real airport in Andorra on their own territory to facilitate its accessibility. A project aims to install the future airport of Andorra Pas de la Casa, a town located at 2,000 meters above sea level, on the border with France.
Traveling by plane to Pas de la Casa in Andorra: Concordia - object of the discord!
The area chosen for the location of the airport infrastructure is located on Terreny de Concordia, a piece of land located between the upper valley of Valira in Canillo and the valley of Cortals in Encamp (Grau Roig). In fact, the ownership of this sector is historically disputed between the two parishes, the conflict still continuing today and being far from resolved ...
Joining by plane the Andorran Principality? Yes, but…
The two obstacles to overcome before the project
The option selected and made public recently by the Andorran radio and television about the future Pas de la Casa airport in Andorra would be good news for the project’s promoters. Only two major obstacles to its realization have yet to be overcome:
- bring Concordia landowners together around the table to get their approval;
- achieve the construction of a complex that will not encroach on the future extension of the Grandvalira ski area, at Grau Roig. This is another problem that remains unresolved.
The ownership of Concordia territory at the heart of the debate
If the technical study carried out and presented by the Chamber of Commerce of the Principality confirms the feasibility and viability of the project, we will have to convince the local authorities to whom belongs the territory of Concordia (15.6 km²). The interests could thus diverge, especially since the selected lands are the object of a war of appropriation between the parishes of Canillo and Encamp.
The promoters of the project will have to show a lot of diplomacy and tact so that each municipality will be involved in the construction of the Andorran airport of Pas de la Casa without feeling swindled. Joining Andorra directly by plane will not be done right away!
Grandvalira ski area in Andorra Vs. Pas de la Casa airport: What about the new expansion zone?
Another potential obstacle to the realization of Andorra airport in the Pas de la Casa: the project validated and promoted by the SAETDE company for the extension of the ski area of the Grandvalira station ... in the Grau Roig sector, on the same area as well!
The plans of execution provide a scheme that would guarantee seventh access to Grandvalira, the largest alpine ski area in the Pyrenees.
This is located in the forest area between Pla de les Pedres and the Peretol snowpark. The project involves the installation of lifts and the marking of a new runway. The green light and the approval of the various Andorran authorities competent in the matter could be done quickly and the works could begin straight away.
Reasons to expect an airport of Pas de la Casa in Andorra
The new skiable project already on the rails
With respect to the Concordia land property, it is evident that the agreement of the two parishes of Canillo and Encamp will be necessary. The signing of a compromise does not seem utopian in the light of a text dating back to 1672, which states an agreement delimiting the territory in a strict way, and which, above all, specifies it as indivisible and subject to rules of common exploitation by both parishes.
Another very positive point about the future airport of Pas de la Casa in Andorra, the recent positions of Joan Viladomat, majority shareholder of Saetde. The latter has thus declared that it would not oppose the project of an Andorran airport of Pas de la Casa provided that it does not affect the development of Grandvalira recently adopted.
Go by plane to Andorra and get off at the ski area: soon, maybe!
It is true that the establishment of La Case airport could come into direct conflict with the idea of developing the new ski area. However, the convergence of the interests of all the actors currently involved in the Concordia zone is a real reason for hope. All seem in any case ready to discuss, it is already an excellent starting point!