Logo Guide to Business in Spain


The Government intends to continue with its program of heavy investment in this area in the future.

In this connection, the Infrastructure, Transport and Housing Plan (PITVI) was approved which, based on an analysis of the current situation and a rigorous assessment of Spanish needs, establishes the priorities and action plans up to 2024. Additionally, the Spanish government plans to allocate €6,667 million from the Next Generation program to mobility and infrastructure policies, mainly focusing on railroads, through the activity programs drawn up by railway infrastructure managers Adif and Adif Alta Velocidad.

The objectives of the PITVI notably include: (i) enhancing the efficiency and competitiveness of the global transport system, optimizing the existing capacity; (ii) contributing to balanced economic development; (iii) promoting sustainable mobility, combining its economic and social effects with respect for the environment; (iv) reinforcing territorial cohesion and accessibility to all State territories through the transport system; and (v) improving the functional integration of the transport system as a whole by taking an intermodal approach.

The motorway and dual carriageway network, of nearly 17,551 kilometers, has undergone constant renovation with a view to enhancing its efficiency. Today it is the leading European motorway and dual carriageway network. The improvement of the motorway and dual carriageway network and an increase in high-capacity roads, with investment of €36,439 million, is among the objectives of the plan.

As far as railway transport is concerned (where Spain has a network of almost 18,000 kilometers), high-speed networks have become a priority.

Madrid currently has high-speed train connections to 35 Spanish cities, meaning that approximately two-thirds of the Spanish population live within reach of a high-speed train station.

The Spanish high-speed network is constantly being expanded. The new Madrid‑Murcia and Madrid‑Burgos sections were added in 2022 and the Madrid-Asturias line is expected to be inaugurated in 2023. The Spanish government estimates that construction of the entire rail corridor from Almeria to the French border will be completed by 2025-2026.

In fact, in recent years, Spain has become a global high-speed rail pioneer, having multiplied the kilometers of high-speed lines in service more than nine-fold, from just over 450 kilometers to around 4,000 kilometers at present.

Since its inception, over €57,000 million has been invested in the high-speed rail network, making a commitment to ensuring that 9 out of every 10 citizens live less than 30 kilometers away from a high-speed rail station.

Spain has thus become the leading country in Europe and the second worldwide, after China, in terms of the number of kilometers of high-speed lines in operation, outperforming countries such as France and Japan. Looking toward to 2023, and in line with previous years, the General State Budget contemplates that railroads will receive the bulk of State and European infrastructure funding, with the majority earmarked for high-speed rail.

Also noteworthy is the important network of relations with managers of railroad infrastructure in other countries, established as a result of signing cooperation protocols. In the context of these agreements representatives from a range of countries, such as the US and Brazil, have visited Spain to learn about its high-speed model. By way of example, since 2020, administrative licenses and concessions have been granted to Spanish companies for their participation in the construction of railway infrastructure and equipment in countries such as Australia (Sydney), the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Poland and the United States (Dallas and Houston), among others. Additionally, Renfe operates the high-speed line connecting Medina and Mecca in Saudi Arabia. In this context of expansion, the Renfe Strategic Plan envisages that 10% of the company’s revenue will come from international markets in 2028.

Regarding the deregulation of rail passenger transport services, approval was recently given to Royal Decree-law 23/2018 of December 21, 2018, which transposes the Directive developing the single European railway area, allowing access to the railway infrastructures of all Member States and reinforcing the independence and impartiality of the administrators of such infrastructures. As a consequence of the deregulation, it was announced in 2020 that the high-speed low‑cost service known as "Avlo" would begin to operate, although its inauguration was postponed until June 2021, due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

In addition to the entry into operation of “Avlo” trains, other high-speed low-cost operators have also entered the market, such as “Ouigo” in 2021 and “Iryo” in 2022, fostering competition in the sector.

Finally, the ongoing liberalization of the freight sector since 2005 has led to the creation of private enterprises that transport goods by railroad. Following approval of the European Recovery Plan, the European Commission has authorized a €120 million support package designed by the Spanish government, with a time frame until June 2026, channeled through subsidies aimed at companies that substitute road transport for rail transport, compensating the difference in costs between the two modes of transport. This plan aims to incentivize rail transport over road transport, as well as improve the competitiveness.

Air transport links the main Spanish cities via Spain’s 48 airports, which also connect Spain to the world’s leading cities. Spain is a major hub for routes linking the Americas and Africa to Europe. The most significant investments in the pipeline are aimed at Madrid airport. AENA plans to invest €2,400 million in Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport up to 2026, the main objective being to increase capacity up to 80 million passengers and to consolidate its position as the main global link to Latin America. Passenger numbers rose in 2021 and this upward trend was maintained in 2022 with a 60% increase compared to the previous year.

The 2025 Flight Plan approved by ENAIRE provides for investment in excess of €100 million a year, with €156.6 million allocated for 2023, of which €98.8 million are earmarked for the European ATM Master Plan within the framework of the Single European Sky. By the end of the Plan in 2025, total investment will have reached €737 million, with the aim of adapting to the liberalization of services, as well as globalization and the consolidation of air navigation managers. The 2025 Flight Plan also seeks to enhance flight path efficiency as part of a commitment to sustainable aviation.

Furthermore, with over 46 international ports on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, Spain boasts excellent maritime transport links, becoming a port and harbor powerhouse, only behind the Asian giants, the US, Germany and the Netherlands. The reinforcement of short-distance maritime transport, both domestic and European, and the development of seaside motorways are some other key initiatives. Moreover, the Motorway of the Sea between Spain and France is now in operation, linking Vigo with the French port of Nantes-Saint Nazaire. Furthermore, Spain plans to promote this type of link in the Mediterranean, through agreements with Italy and other countries, with a view to increasing the number of links already on offer and operating with good results between the port of Barcelona and several Italian ports. The ferry line between Santander and the Irish port of Cork has also been reopened, and services between Santander and the UK ports of Plymouth and Portsmouth were also reinforced in 2022.

This will allow a more sustainable alternative in some of the main flows within the EU. In addition, with a view to improving the competitiveness of ports, the Ports Law was revised in 2021 to increase competitiveness and introduce the regulation of autonomous or unmanned ships.

In the same vein, the 2021-2025 Investment Plans for the port system were approved in 2021 to enhance port system connections, with an investment of more than €11,000 million as part of the new Strategic Framework for the General Interest Port System.

As part of its plans for internationalization, the State Port Authority is promoting alliances with the major Chinese operators, with the Barcelona Europe South Terminal (BEST) at the port of Barcelona being operated by Chinese group Hutchinson Port Holdings (HPH), the leading port terminal operator in the world. Competitiveness and an emphasis on renewable energies has led shipping company Maersk to pick Spain as one of the world centers for production of its green fuel. Three major Spanish ports (Bahía de Algeciras, Valencia and Barcelona) are listed among top 100 ports worldwide in terms of container traffic10, thereby confirming Spain’s strategic position in the global maritime transport industry.

Spain is well equipped in terms of technological and industrial infrastructure, having seen a boom in recent years in technological parks in the leading industrial areas, as well as around universities and R&D centers. There are currently 64 technological parks11 housing 8,145 companies, mainly engaged in the telecommunications and IT industries, in which a large number of workers are employed in R&D activities.

Spain also boasts a solid telecommunications network, with an extensive conventional fiber optic cable network covering the country almost in its entirety, in addition to an extensive undersea cable network, aided by its privileged geographical position.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant deregulation set in place many years ago in the majority of industries, including the telecommunications industry, meeting the deadlines set for such purpose by the EU with ease. Among other advantages, this deregulation has meant a more competitive range of products on offer as reflected in costs, essential for economic development.

Also notable is Government backing for integral management of water resources, based on environmental management and recovery, more efficient use of water and planned management of risks such as droughts and flooding. As part of these initiatives, the Spanish government approved the 2022-2027 Water Plans for the Spanish River basins, which came into force in February 2023. The main objective of the new plans is to readjust water management to the effects of climate change, reducing allocations to adapt them to climatic conditions and improve the treatment of urban waste.