For the first time in 2009, last month saw a rise in the number of people using Barcelona’s El Prat airport (article in Catalan, Avui). As a result of the rise in numbers, the airport also had its first month of positive figures for this year, following a period of losses. However, the director of the airport, Fernando Echegaray, said that prudence was still required with regards to the finances of the international hub, which has been the focus of attention this year due to the opening of its new terminal T1. A fall in the number of flights on offer from Barcelona is part of the current economic situation, according to Echegaray, and the general crisis being felt throughout the global air industry.
The Guàrdia Urbana local police force in Barcelona has increased its efforts against people selling fake goods on the streets of the city (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). As part of the run-up to Christmas, the police have initiated their ‘Operación Navidad’ for this year, which each season seeks to ease various problems associated with this time of year; eg. traffic issues and general congestion in busy areas, with 600 officers involved in the campaign each day. In addition, this year, the Guàrdia Urbana will be particularly targeting the so-called top manta sellers, using a team of undercover agents as well as uniformed agents to try to catch people selling fake bags, scarves, CDs and DVDs, amongst other goods. The areas that will be under scrutiny include Plaça Catalunya, Passeig de Gràcia, La Rambla and the Portal de l’Àngel.
While the Christmas shopping campaign has just started in earnest here, many shops, especially those that are part of a large chain, have been running discounts on goods for some time (article in Catalan, Avui). There are concerns amongst retailers that even though the majority of consumers haven’t been directly hit by the current economic crisis in Spain, they have cut back on spending as if they had, and this means that consumption isn’t growing; one consequence of this, according to the president of Fundació Barcelona Comerç, Joan Mateu, is to cause the crisis to continue. However, there is confidence in the sector that the public will now start spending more in the run-up to Christmas and Kings’ Day, although the president of the Confederació del Comerç de Catalunya, Miquel Àngel Fraile, said that while more products could be sold, profits will be the same as last year.
Also in the news: Five people killed in road accidents in Catalunya over the weekend (Avui); Spain thrash Czech Republic in Davis Cup final (El Periodico); Leo Messi collects Ballon d’Or prize in Paris (La Vanguardia)