Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will be in Barcelona today for the inauguration of the new T1 terminal at the city's airport; the existing Terminals A, B and C will now collectively be T2 (article in Catalan, Avui). After five years of works, and despite opposition from local resident groups and environmental organisations, the terminal will start operations tomorrow and thereby double the current capacity of El Prat airport; with the new facility, the airport will be able to cope with 55 million travellers a year. In an interesting twist, all the political parties in Catalunya yesterday said that it was thanks to them that the new terminal has been built: Generalitat President José Montilla said he had been one of the signatories on a document produced during Felipe Gonzalez's Socialist government in the mid-Nineties that had planned the extension; Artur Mas retorted by saying that the socialists don't make such long-term plans and it was a result of former CiU Generalitat president Jordi Pujol making a deal with then Spanish prime minister José María Aznar of the Partido Popular (PP), in 2003; and Alicia Sanchez-Camacho, leader of the PP in Catalunya, claimed that the new development was proof of the party's investment in and interest for Catalunya.
In April, the number of house sales in Spain fell by almost half compared to the same month in 2008, going down by some 47 percent. The figures were worse for the market of second-hand properties (which went down by 52.2 percent) than for new builds (which shrunk by 42.9 percent). This represents a slowing down in the fall of sales for new apartments and houses, which had been proving harder to sell than older properties. In other economic news, a report out today suggests that each Spaniard will spend an average of €100 in the upcoming summer sales, starting on July 1st. This represents a decrease of about five percent compared to what consumers spent in the sales of 2008, and 82 percent of those who told the survey that they wouldn't be spending anything said that was because of the current uncertain financial situation (both articles in Castilian, La Vanguardia).
Michelin-starred Catalan chef Carme Ruscalleda is planning to open a restaurant in Barcelona at the Hotel Mandarin Oriental (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). Although the deal is yet to be formalised, if an agreement is reached, it means that the hotel—the only one that the luxury chain will have in Spain—located in the former Banc Sabadell building on Passeig de Gràcia, will have the first restaurant in the Catalan capital for the renowned chef; she already has the Sant Pau restaurant in the Maresme seaside town of Sant Pol de Mar, which has been awarded three Michelin stars and a two-starred restaurant in Tokyo. Click here to read our interview with Carme Ruscalleda from 2008.