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Although there are several news stories that deserve attention, such as debate on the drought in the Parliament of Catalonia - boring and unattractive despite the gravity of the moment, both on the part of the government and the opposition; Switzerland's rejection of judge García-Castellón for linking the Tsunami investigation with terrorism - why did minister Bolaños withhold the Swiss response since December 29th and to take it out of his pocket now, instead of processing it in a timely manner at the National Audience? Also, the slothfulness of the PSOE in adapting to the new reality of Spanish politics after the Galician election - the price of its accords agreements has risen in the same proportion as Socialist votes have fallen. However, I am dedicating today's editorial to news that seemed to me resounding: more than a million passengers who flew from Barcelona to Asia between August 2022 and July 2023 were forced to pass through one or more airports en route, due to the lack of direct routes.

The figures speak for themselves and are truly explosive. It ends up being a daily average of 2,740 people who are directly hurt and that's without counting those who, if Barcelona had direct flights to Asia, would end up staying overnight or passing through the Catalan capital. I already know that the debate on Barcelona-El Prat airport has ended up being rather an almost religious conversation about a certain conception of life and the planet than a serious discussion, with numbers and real bases. It is not the only issue in this Catalonia that ends up being abused because there is an underlying current that penalizes any dispute if one strays from political orthodoxy. In part, this is also why the Catalan parties are enormously comfortable with the so-called national pacts which, far from being an exception, have ended up being so normalized that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the government's proposals from those of the opposition. Surely we hold the Guinness record for national pacts.

It is necessary to expand the airport. How this is to be done can be debated, but not in a way that maintains the situation of deadlock over time

On the other hand, we have left aside the experts' views on what El Prat airport needs, how it can be more competitive and how Catalonia can best benefit from the 50 million passengers annually that are the capacity of the facility. We will end up having to face this problem, everyone knows that, because the graphs of its evolution confirm it. In the same way as have have just found ourselves lacking in water and we'll have to see what happens over the summer, the real nightmare, at the moment, of those who are afraid of a spring of exceptionally low rainfall giving way to a harsh summer. And if that happens, then it won't be the farmers protesting - in the end, they are are always given less attention than they deserve even though people always talk about them. It will be tourism, a fundamental motor of the Catalan economy, which will falter because the idea will spread like wildfire that in other destinations a summer break is more pleasant and has fewer risks.

At the moment, 24% of El Prat's intercontinental traffic goes to destinations in the Asia/Pacific area and that percentage is increasing. In the period analyzed, the increase in indirect passengers, that is, those who had to make a stopover, was 130% compared to the equivalent previous period. Some Asian destinations already have more indirect passengers travelling to and from Barcelona than before the pandemic: for example, the Pakistani airports of Islamabad (83% more), Lahore (82%) and Sialkot (23%); as well as those of the Indian cities of Delhi (8%) and Mumbai (5%), or Singapore (16%). It is necessary to expand the airport. How this is to be done can be debated, but not in a way that maintains the situation of deadlock over time because it will end up being a more real problem than it is already starting to be. Hopefully when the decision is made it won't, as with the drought, be too late. And with many years having been lost.