Corvera will open on April 2nd, 2015 says the Region of Murcia minister for public development. Just in the time for the elections. If:
the airport is certified by the Spanish navigation board; the control tower is licensed to open (can’t do that until the airport is certified); the airport operator is certified to run the place; the general opening license is issued; and if the EU authorises the aiport. The EU, by the way, has again put back it’s decision on this until December 18th, and quite possibly January – and until the decision is given “financial participation” in the airport won’t be given. The EU is supposed to give 180 million euros towards the airport which will allow it to open, without this decision Murcia can’t afford to open the doors.
At the same time, representatives of the current airport, San Juan, have filed a complaint to Brussels alledgeding that Murcia’s report on San Javier is “a tissue of lies”. Far from being an old military airport operating at peak capacity (as Murcia is supposed to have told the EU), the workers point out that the greater part of the airport is civilian, that it only operates at 35% capacity, that last year it carried well over a million passengers with an excellent record and that vast amounts of public money have been poured into upgrading the place over the last few years.
To make matters worse, AENA says that it won’t close San Javier without compensation of 72 million euros, which will have to be paid before the opening of Corvera. If San Javier continues to run then Murcia will have to go into a price war with the State to try to lure flights to the new airport. Only the State probably won’t let them do that (as that would also affect Alicante airport, just up the road), and the place will sit, open.
Ryanair, Air Europa and Air Berlin are all interested in flying to Corvera – if the price is right, naturally.
EQUO, an opposition party summed it up well: “[The President of Murcia] just wants to open the airport, come what may, ahead of the May 25th elections… and damn the financial consequences of this white elephant”.