15 Jul, 2012 @ 09:30
1 min read

Expat despair at Malaga flight noise

sheila saville expat airplanes

EXCLUSIVE By James Bryce

A BRITISH expat has spoken of her despair at the never-ending noise created by planes flying at anti-social hours on the approach into Malaga airport.

And Sheila Saville, 65, from Benalmadena, insists the problem is likely to get a whole lot worse now that Malaga has opened its second runway.

Saville, who has lived in Spain with husband David for 15 years, insists that dozens of planes are increasingly coming in late at night and early in the morning.

She says the number has increased dramatically over the last few months and is affecting her sleep.

“It is terrible, I have never heard anything like it,” explained Saville, who is used to low-flying aircraft over her property, being on the
normal flight path.

“We counted 20 planes between 10pm and 11pm one evening recently.

“It is permanently noisy as the sound of an approaching plane begins before the previous one is out of earshot.

“It starts getting bad in the afternoon but goes on until about 1am and then starts again at 7.30am.

“It is totally out of my control. I’ve tried contacting the airport but I just get an automated message,” added Saville, originally from

Her main concern is that the new €400 million runway opened recently will make the situation even worse.

The airport has admitted it hopes to double capacity over the next year, with more direct flights already coming in from the US.

“It is good for Spain but they are not thinking about the residents.”

Despite several calls to the airport, the Olive Press was unable to get a response.


  1. That is what you get for living in the city and having the covenience of an airport to fly to and fro from spain to the uk right on your doorstep, also Malaga is one of the main holiday destinations in spain, so I suggest moving inland and stop moaning about it.

  2. Get a life Shiela, there are a lot of people with much bigger problems than you seem to have. Why dont you move, maybe even to Leeds and do us all a favour!

  3. I’ve heard of residents near airports in NYC and NJ complain about the same problem – and it gets WORSE with time rather than better. Most UNlikely you’ll get a change in flight path, departure/arrival times, etc.
    You’ll have to MOVE to another location, asap.
    Sadly, things change sometimes for the worse.

  4. I can sympathise, as the majority of flight paths seem to have changed since the new runway “opened”. Planes taking off towards the sea do so on the old runway, but now turn right instead of left. This takes them right over the Benalmadena area as they climb and head back inland. 8 minutes later they are right back over the airport again. I believe this change of flight path is incase a plane intending to land on the new runway has to make a go around, in which case it would come into conflict with a plane turning left after taking off on the old runway. This is all very well, except that the new runway is only used for a few hours in the mornings.

  5. Well I live 14 KM inland from the airport and they have started flying over me too. At ridiculously low altitudes.The noise is mind blowing and it’s every 30/60 seconds ! They’ve spent nearly €500 million and have made no public consultation at all.
    Strangely the air traffic to Malaga has gone down this year, not up !
    So what is the plan ?
    The new runway is open but ,it’s not clear if they have approval to operate from it …….. yet ! They say they are only using it for training and testing at the moment – or when the air traffic is very busy.The new approach to Malaga goes more than 20KM inland but as yet there are no published routes :) there’s a surprise !
    I too have been here for 13 years. They’ve wiped 80% of the value off my property !
    The new route in to runway 12 also over flies Estacion De Cartama, there’s roughly 10,000 people living there. Apart from the the noise and the exhaust, they will be dropping their wheels for landing over built-up areas, it’s incredibly dangerous, any rubbish that has been picked up on aircraft tyres at take-off, could easily drop off again. Sooner or later, someone will get hurt !
    The PR people for the airport published an article saying the new runway will generate €14 billion, what does that mean ? In a day ? in a year? in 30 years ? It’s absolute rubbish ! A worker at the airport told me, one week they had virtually NO aircraft movements, in or out ! So what is it all about ? They’re not creating much more employment either, in-fact I understand they recently laid off air traffic controllers because of the new automatic landing system they’ve installed. So where is the €14billion coming from or is it that they need to justify the €500 million investment into something that has never been proved !
    I think the denucia’s against the airport will keep a lot of lawyers in work for years to come, perhaps that’s the income they’re talking about !

  6. Reality – that’s 80% of his “dream” value. A bit like those flights every 30-60 seconds. I’ve SEEN the arrivals board; if there are flights every 30 seconds then they must be circling Albert’s property with the intention of driving him insane.

  7. “Malaga Airport recently opened a new, second runway. The new runway is expected to double the airport’s flight capacity from 37 flights per hour to as many as 65 to 70 flights per hour”.

    Would you want to stay in a tranquil mountain hotel location with aircraft overhead, every minute ? Would you buy it ?? knowing that your return trade will drop to zero and every time you take a booking your holding back a little secret !

  8. “A worker at the airport told me, one week they had virtually NO aircraft movements, in or out !”

    Make your mind up – every 30 seconds or virtually nothing?

  9. I think It’s obvious to everyone that during October or some of the winter months the flights are less active, June, July Aug however are much busier.

    Here’s another point to think about.

    Malaga Airport’s safety record.
    There were major incidents in 1982 and 2001, 4 people died and a number of injuries. There have been a few other reported accidents. Both major accidents took place on the motorway at the end of the runway.

    If they double the flight activity, that doubles the risk of accidents. If they then over-fly a town of 10,000 people, is that a risk that the people of that town want to take ? This isn’t rocket science- should the people of that town have all the facts put in-front of them ? Should it be their choice, not the airport operator ?

    If this happened in the UK there would be years of consultation and computation. Where is the data, where is the consultation ? It’s not at the Town hall and I’ve seen nothing published.
    I know that sounds like sour grapes from me because they’re causing me so many problems, perhaps you should also know I’m a pilot, I love aircraft and airports !

  10. You’re not in the UK Albert. Perhaps you should have bought a house there if their societal norms are those you wish to live by. Or stand for election here and change the things you don’t like.

  11. Albert – you’re a pilot. You own a house in a foreign country. You want people to feel sorry for you because you are inconvenienced by a new runway that makes noise. You expect that a government struggling to support its economy should bend over backwards to listen to your grievances. This is what is colloquially referred to as “rich person problems.”

    If the new runway generates more revenue for the city, creates jobs, etc. then the benefits definitely outweigh the fact that you have to listen to airplanes flying over you.

    Also the “doubles the risk” argument holds little water. You, as a pilot, know the risk of accidents by airplane is extremely slim compared to most risks we accept on a daily basis. More people die on buses yearly than on airplanes. Lets not construct any more bus stations – increases the risk. New port in Malaga? People die on boats – how risky. The risk is extremely minuscule. The benefit, even if it were slim, would outweigh it. And it does sound like sour grapes in this case, because that is all that it is.

  12. It would be interesting to see published any studies that were done on noise effects when the new flight paths were set up and what trade-offs were made. For instance, has noise been minimized overall but there are some local winners and losers ? Was there a trade-off between fuel costs and noise levels etc.

    Has anyone seen this sort of information, is it available through AENA or some other body ?

  13. Your can check the flight paths and noise path here:


    also you can contact Malaga airport and get more info here:


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

Big colony

picnic in the park concert
Next Story

Picnic in the park charity concert for expats in Benahavis

Latest from Lead

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press