Almeria Airport – a black hole for government cash

Almeria Airport (LEI), according to recently released figures by AENA, “only” lost 9 million euros last year. It’s worth 75 million euros, but has a net debt of around (by the end of this year) 110 million euros.

AENA, a state owned company that runs Spain’s airports, used to keep its accounts locked in a large vault in Madrid, but eventually yielded to public pressure last year and admitted that it was running at an annual loss of around 433 million euros. Only 9 airports in Spain actually make any money.

There’s two ways of looking at this: One is that airports are vital to Spain’s economy and are worth more than they cost. The other is, 433 million euros!

The politicians, after years of Option A) are now veering towards Option B) and are moving towards part privatisation of Spains’ airports. If things happen as expected, the all new AENA will be a SA with about 30% private capital, and “greater” control from local townhalls, Diputaciones and Comunidades. IE, Madrid is starting to think that it’s best to let the Junta pick up the tab, and let private companies in to run all the airport stands.

Of course, once we have a nice new AVE to bring in the customers… possibly the politicians will think twice about having so many loss making airports, when tourists can fly into Murcia (Murcia makes money!) and take a quick train trip to Vera? You won’t even need a rental car, will be the spiel! (You will). And that will allow Almeria townhall to finally extend the town to the east – they’ve been asking for the airport to be moved for years.

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