Sunday, January 15, 2012

A virgin runway

During the boom years, Spain embarked on many adventurous projects that they believed would enhance the economy. One such project was the  building of new airports to serve the tourist trade. In spite of the fact that there was already an airport at Valencia, another at Barcelona and one at Alicante, they went ahead and built yet another one at Castellón at a cost of 150 million Euros.

Possibly because of political differences between the then Socialist government and the Conservative run region, the airport was not granted a licence. However, gaining a licence was not the only problem for Castellón because the low cost airlines showed no interest in it. As a result the airport, which was inaugurated last March, has never had an aircraft land on its runway, there are weeds growing in the tarmac and the car park stands as empty as the day it was built.

According to El Pais, 30 million Euros was spent on advertising the new airport at tourist fairs and more recently a 25 metre high sculpture costing 300,000 Euros has been erected in front of the terminal building. They even spent 2.35 million Euros sponsoring Villareal CF to wear the airports logo on their shirts for three seasons.

Out of the 48 airports that serve Spain, only 11 are profitable and yet still they build more. For example, the new airport at Covera is due to open this year. This is meant to replace the existing airport at San Javier which will remain open solely for military purposes. In the meantime, a lot of money has been spent at San Javier covering the car park and upgrading the terminal building. And of course, you do wonder what they will make of the not so old terminal at Alicante

1 comment:

Pete said...

Airports are a mystery to me sometimes Keith. I guess we're lucky to have Manchester so nearby, but it's still nuts that in Britain we've got SO many under capacity airports all over the country and yet still everything seems to run through Heathrow.

Why they keep on building them all over Spain is beyond me.