Spanish 'ghost airport' that cost £130million set to welcome first flight almost FOUR YEARS after opening

Spanish 'ghost airport' that cost £130million set to welcome first flight almost FOUR YEARS after opening
By Simon Cable
12 December 2014

A ‘ghost airport’ that opened almost four years ago, but which has yet to officially receive a single flight, is finally set to begin operations.

The infamous Castellon-Costa Azahar airfield near Valencia was built at a cost of £130million and declared open in March 2011 despite having no airlines lined up to fly from there and no official government approval to operate. As a result, the airport has come to symbolise the reckless public spending across Spain that has left the country crippled with debt.


The Castellon-Costa Azahar airfield near Valencia was opened in March 2011 but has not received any flights

A £200,000, 79-ft tall statue was also erected next to the terminal’s only runway, while last month it emerged that around £25million had been spent on publicity for Castellon airport despite the fact that it had failed to secure permits to receive air traffic.


The State Agency for Air Security previously found that the strip was too narrow for aeroplanes to turn around, meaning it needed to be dug up and widened to meet regulations. The airport was developed by Carlos Fabra, the former president of Spain's ruling Popular Party in Castellón province who was jailed for tax-fraud on December 2. During the time it has lain deserted and unused, it was suggested that the facility should be turned into a car racing track or shopping complex.


The airport was built at a cost of £130m and has come to symbolise the reckless public spending in Spain

But the airport is finally said to have now passed all the relevant tests and has the necessary certification for flights to begin. It was hoped that the new airport will open up a new area of Spain's eastern coast to tourism, although airlines have so far failed to be persuaded to add the destination to their routes. The region is currently served by busy international airports such as Valencia and Alicante to the south and Barcelona to the north. The facility will be run by Canadian multinational, Lavalin for the next 20 years in a £20million deal.


A £200,000, 79-ft tall statue was also erected next to the terminal’s only runway

Those responsible for the facility predict regular flights will commence from March 2015 to coincide with the Easter tourist season. Lavalin predicts that during 2015 the airport will receive around 50,000 passengers and by 2017 that number will have risen to over 200,000. It has been confirmed that Villareal Football Club will be the first customers of the newly opened airport, flying from Castellón for their matches both within Spain and abroad. The team has previously used Valencia airport for their flights.


Those responsible for the facility predict regular flights will commence from March 2015 to coincide with the Easter tourist season

Spanish newspaper ABC has reported that those in charge of the airport are hoping that low-cost airline Ryanair will also fly to and from Castellon. They are also hoping to establish direct links between the airport and London to attract more British visitors.

José Ciscar, president of Aerocas, the public company that owns the airport recently said that they are ‘closer than ever’ to opening the airport and that he is already working with commercial flights that will use the airport in the spring-summer season. The local government will not start to make money on the airport until it exceeds 1.2 million passengers a year, something with will not happen until 2029, according to Lavalin forecasts.

Source: Daily Mail UK.