La Voz de Almería, our local paper, has received confirmation from the AENA, the airports authority, that Almería airport is part of a mass “viability study” by the government, which is examining Spain’s loss making airport infrastructure for savings.
At the close of 2010, Almeria airport was technically worth 75 million euros, but had accumulated aggregated debts of 110 million euros. It has lost 35% of passenger traffic over the last four years and seen a corresponding loss in commerce deliveries.
The government has shelved the previous administrations plan to sell off a load of airports -Almería was likely to have been one of the airports earmarked for privatisation- but has announced that AENA must make cuts to its operating costs. It has not ruled out closing “unneccesary or underperforming” airports and has commissioned a study of the worse performing airports, in order to evaluate their economic viability, and the economic benefits they bring to the surrounding area.
Would they close Almería? Can’t see it myself. Could they drastically cut back on operating costs there, reducing overhead and redirecting flights to Málaga, Murcia or Granada? Possibly, especially with the AVE being constructed closeby.
Spanish airports are, it has to be said, a rat hole of money for the country, due to corruption and mismanagement. Look at Murcia airport – they continue to pour money into San Javier, knowing full well that as from 2013 most flights will be switched over to the new Corvera airport and San Javier will be returning to military status. As usual, it’s the central administration versus the regional government, both doing their own thing without bothering to talk to one another.