You’ll remember that Aeromur is the company that was supposed to run Covera airport, a consortium setup of local bigwigs and Murcia Region. When their financing went poof! in the recession, the Murcian government stepped in to underwrite an eye watering debt. A debt which is now helping to cripple Murcia as a whole, but that’s a different matter.
Corvera, of course, is a massive international ghost airport vanity project built in the middle of freaking nowhere as a direct competitor to the airports of Alicante, Murcia – San Javier and Almería. (And Málaga, now the motorway is open). It was underwritten by the regional government as an alternative to the state owned airports. Murcia already has a perfectly servicable airport in the form of San Javier, which is shared with Spanish Air Force.
With passenger numbers in the doldrums over la crisis the airport never opened. And with Aeromur technically in breech of contract, but still possessing the keys, the region found itself with an airport that legally nobody was allowed to run.
So President Válcarcel (whose name suggests a pun on V’al-carcel, I must work on that one) signed a somewhat dubious interim contract with Aeromur to carry on running the closed airport until all the contract could be renegotiated.
So Aeromur went ahead and asked for certification. Much money and time spent with EU navigational authorities, calibrating the control tower, running test flights, seeing if the conveyor belts worked and all the rest.
Trouble was, the renegotiation ended up in the courts, and now the Courts have delivered the judgement – Aeromur is in breech of contract and can’t run the airport.
The government must now sally forth and find some other muppet to run the airport. Murcia must now value the airport afresh, and develop new economic projections based on current traffic projections to San Javier (the current economic projections date from 2006 and are wildly optimistic).
This is likely to take the rest of the year (and the rest…. ed!) and no new tender can be issued or contemplated until then.
Meanwhile, AENA – the national airports operator – continues to spend money developing San Javier, which continues to leech traffic away from Almería. AENA continues to refuse to have anything to do with Corvera, and expects hefty compensation to close it if Corvera eventually opens.