‘Ghost’ airport may finally be sold

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© Wikimedia
The terminal building as seen from one of the few planes ever to land at the airport.

THE Ciudad Real Airport fiasco moved a step closer to resolution on Friday April 15, after a judge announced that it has been sold to CR International Airport SL.

Head of the district court Carmelo Ordoñez said that the company has made a deposit of €1.87 million, and warned that the remainder of the €56.2 million fee must be paid within four months in order to close the deal.

The magistrate added that AENA, the public body that runs the majority of Spain’s airports, the Civil Aviation authority and other relevant bodies will be informed of the agreement in the next few days.

Although no precise details of the arrangement were released, Ordoñez claims that it will “generate many jobs and investment,” and mentioned that previous bidders Richard Taffin and Group Order 12 SL were “inevitably not included in the process” due to “misleading the court,” after both presented false guarantees earlier this year.

In February, the judge had set a minimum price of €50 million for the airport, well short of the €1.1 billion spent on constructing it.

Originally named after Don Quixote, it represents one of the most notorious emblems of Spain’s spendthrift boom years, during which local political barons raided banks to build a series of failed infrastructure projects.

It was projected to act as an overflow for Madrid’s Barajas airport, located some 220 kilometres away, connecting city and coast via a state-of-the-art rail link.

However, although the Sevilla branch of the high speed AVE train network does run close to the airport, no station was included in its design, and it has been suggested that the airport was planned to fail by its short-sighted investors, who allegedly benefited from construction contracts awarded to their own companies.

The airport owners filed for bankruptcy in June 2010 and was put up for sale by receivers in December 2013 at a price of €100 million. Since then, the deadline for a sale has been extended several times, but despite numerous bids no sale has been forthcoming.

It now remains to be seen if CR International are able to come up with the remainder of the cash. The airport has not received a scheduled flight since December 2011.

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