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The City Council gives 'Europe Award' to the director of Alicante-Elche airport, Laura Navarro, for her contribution to strengthening ties with the continent

Benidorm demands a peaceful and strong Europe to ensure stability and boost the economy

09 May 2024
Benidorm reivindica una Europa “en paz y fuerte” para asegurar la estabilidad y dinamizar la economía

Benidorm City Council celebrated Europe Day today with an institutional plenary session in which the mayor of the city, Toni Pérez, invited “to reflect on the achievements” and renewed, on behalf of the town, “the commitment with peace, solidarity and cooperation between European countries.” During this event, the work of Laura Navarro Villanueva, director of Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández airport, was  recognized; she was awarded the 'Europe 2024 Distinction' for her “outstanding management” at the terminal, her “contribution to the growth of tourism” and the “strengthening of connections with the main European cities and towns” as well as “the links that unite us all.”

The institutional plenary session has been chaired by the mayor of the city, Toni Pérez, and has had the participation of practically all of the councillors of the Municipal Corporation, among them, the regional deputy, José Ramón González de Zárate. His colleague in Les Corts, Manuel Pérez Fenoll, also participated in it; commanders of the State Security Corps and Forces, such as the local chief of the National Police, Ceferino Serrano, the quartermaster of the Local Police Carlos López, along with members of the Civil Guard; as well as representatives of numerous, businesses, cultural, festive or neighbourhood entities and groups.

In his institutional speech, the first mayor demanded a “peaceful and strong” Europe to ensure world peace and boost the economy. He has done so, highlighting that, 74 years after the declaration of the then French Minister Robert Schuman that was the germ of what is today the European Union, “the objective today continues to be to consolidate a path of peace, based on cooperation, to achieve a more united Europe”, a path that “involves challenging challenges that we must face together. “Europe is not only a geographical achievement, but a space of cultural diversity and coexistence.”

“The history of continental Europe is marked by its conflicts, but also by its ability to overcome them,” he recalled, before “lamenting that almost 27 months after February 24, 2022, Russian aggression against Ukraine continues.” At this point, Toni Pérez continued, “It is crucial to aspire to a fair and lasting peace, instead of allowing a conflict that affects not only Ukraine but all of Europe. We hope for a peaceful solution to end the conflict.”

“Europe is the best answer and the best path for everyone,” he defended, before considering it “encouraging” that countries such as “Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Turkey keep it alive.” their hope of joining the European Union”, because “the enlargement of the European Union not only benefits the candidate countries but also strengthens the Union as a whole by promoting cooperation, development and stability throughout the region”.

In his reflection on the enlargement of the EU, Toni Pérez has considered it “necessary that before incorporating new members, the Union makes the pending and timely reforms of its decision-making and financing procedures, to successfully undertake the main challenge that is its future continuity”, as are also “the imminent elections to which nearly 400 million citizens are called to form a European Parliament”.

Toni Pérez has also highlighted "the support provided by Europe through aid and financing funds", which in the city have materialized, especially in recent years, in projects to achieve a Benidorm "more sustainable, green and comfortable for its residents." neighbours” through strategies such as EDUSI or FEDER Funds.
Likewise, the mayor has defined the Alicante-Elche airport as “the gateway and exit to the province for millions of Europeans who long for the holiday leisure that Benidorm, the place of happiness, and the Costa Blanca offer” and has applauded the management of Laura Navarro Villanueva. “Benidorm feels deeply proud to have the director of the Costa Blanca airport among its neighbours, and on this important day, honour her with the ‘Europe 2024 Award’ for her work and professionalism,” he highlighted.

For her part, Laura Navarro confessed the “joy” that collecting this distinction has brought her, especially “because it is an award that recognizes work and effort, and also joy at receiving it at home, in the city that for twenty years “He welcomed me with hospitality and affection and has seen me progress both personally and professionally.”

The director of the provincial airport recalled the achievements achieved during her management, such as the records of more than 15 million passengers in 2019 and 2023, but also the most critical moments she has faced since she took over the management of the airport in 2019; like the fire suffered at the beginning of 2020 or the covid-19 pandemic that paralyzed airport activity. “We have worked hard to recover traffic and air connectivity and obtained numerous recognitions,” she said, but not before thanking “the collaboration, help and continuous support of the tourism sector and institutions.”

“I remember hard moments and I also the help and collaboration I always found when I needed it. And there are many faces in this plenary hall that I see smiling today because you know exactly the moments to which I am referring,” she added excitedly.

Finally, Laura Navarro has been optimistic about the future. On the one hand, she has advanced that the record figures of 2023 “are also consolidated in this first quarter of 2024.” On the other hand, she has affirmed her confidence that "we will continue to achieve great success as a destination by knowing how to work as a team and by collaborating from different organizations, always putting our passenger, our visitor, at the centre of all our efforts."

The curriculum of the '2024 Europe Award'

Born in Valencia in 1973, Laura Navarro graduated as an Industrial Engineer from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and has a postgraduate degree in Aviation Management (airport management) from Cranfield University, Bedfordshire. She began her career at AENA in 2006 and, since then, has held various positions of responsibility. Among them, she led the works of the Levante Plan, was part of the maintenance team, held a position in the airport director's office for five years and, since November 1, 2019, has been in charge as director of the Alicante Airport. Elche Miguel Hernández is classified as the fifth most important in the Spanish airport network and currently among the 50 busiest in Europe.

With this 'Europe Award', approved unanimously by the Corporation's plenary session, Benidorm recognizes that “at key moments in recent history, with direct impacts on tourism such as Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and the recovery, the director of the Alicante-Elche airport has been an example of professionalism in managing the terminal.”

Likewise, the motion raised in full by the Board of Spokespersons, at the proposal of Mayor Toni Pérez, also highlights that, “under his leadership, the airport has obtained outstanding distinctions in management” or that in 2023 it registered a total of 15,747. 678 passengers, exceeding the record figure in 2019 by 4.6%, and reaching the deseasonalization of its operations by exceeding one million passengers in twelve of the last thirteen months.

Through its boarding gates, the airport channels almost 6% of all air visitors in the country, resulting in the creation of more than 300 direct jobs and more than 6,000 indirect jobs. And, likewise, serving as the main gateway to the province, the airport has the presence of 38 airlines that operate flights to 129 destinations in 26 countries, including 24 European destinations.

All in all, the City Council considers Laura Navarro deserving of this 'Europe 2024 Distinction, for “her outstanding performance leading high-quality infrastructures that have contributed to the continuous growth of our tourism industry, for her constant attention to the needs of Benidorm and for having “Strengthened connections with the main European cities and towns, strengthening the ties that unite us all.”

Audios relacionados
Corte voz 1 Laura Navarro
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Corte voz 2 Laura Navarro
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Corte voz 3 Laura Navarro
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Corte voz 4 Laura Navarro
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Corte voz 5 Toni Pérez
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Corte voz 6 Toni Pérez
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Corte voz 7 Toni Pérez
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Corte voz 8 Toni Pérez
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Corte voz 9 Toni Pérez
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Corte voz 10 Toni Pérez
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Corte voz 11 Toni Pérez
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