AENA officially took possession of the new Corvera airport last weekend, in a ceremony which saw the regional president hand over the symbolic keys to the building to the AENA representative, putting to an end an eight year farce which has cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of euros for feck all.
AENA, of course, being the Spanish partially state owned enterprise which runs airports across the nation.
The new airport will be known as Juan de la Cierva, after a famous Murcian engineer.
Final operating licenses are expected to be granted by the end of this summer, and the region is waiting for permission from the central government’s lawyers to transfer concessions from the old San Javier airport to the new one.
It depends upon negotiations with the operating airlines, but AENA expects to switch operations from San Javier to Juan de la Cierva “overnight”, either in December or by the latest January 2019.
San Javier will then be closed to the public and returned to the military. Although Juan de la Cierva will be owned by the region of Murcia, AENA has a 25 year lease to the airport.
Mind you, we had a very similar newspiece back in 2011.
In short, Murcia region built a massive airport at a huge cost to the taxpayer during the boom. The recession started before flights could start. The whole point of the new airport was to break Murcia away from the “monopoly of the central state”, and to that end a consortium of companies were to run and operate it; the airport being billed as the first private international airport in Spain.
Anyway, the whole thing went bust and Murcian taxpayers had to underwrite several hundred million euros in debt. AENA offered to take the white elephant off the hand of the regional government in exchange for 72 million euros in compensation back in 2014, which never happened.
In 2015, the concessionary was fired by Murcia because they couldn’t come up with the cash to open the airport. In 2016 a new tender to run the airport was put out by the region. Nobody was stupid enough to bite.
And here we are. Basically, after almost a decade and several hundred million euros, Murcia’s attempt to “break away from the state monopoly”…. has resulted in them handing over their new airport to the state monopoly.