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Spain's Ciudad Real Airport stubbornly launches 9th sale offering

Sat 21st Feb 2015
Spain's Ciudad Real Airport stubbornly launches 9th sale offering

Over the next few weeks the 9th offering in the sale of Ciudad Real Airport will take place by the receivers of the bankrupt facility.

In the 3 years since the EU 1.1 Bln Airport was abandoned, not one of the previous attempts to sell the facility at an asking price of EU 80 Mln (BUT the new owner must also shoulder debts of EU320 Mln attached to the Airport), has been successful.

The 9th attempt has seen the price fall to offers between EU70 - 80 Mln.

However the receivers finally seem to have got the message : that a public auction has simply not gathered any interest in the previous 8 attempts, and as such the process will become a direct sale - meaning that the first interested party to submit a formal offer, and be willing and able to comply with all sale conditions, will become the new owner.

The EU 1.1 Bln facility became a joke shortly after opening for the first time in 2008, where it was marketed as "Madrid-South", despite being located 200km from the capital itself.

This would not have been too much of an inconvenience if it were not for the fact the much promised AVE high speed rail link to Madrid never materialized.

Similarly, the opening of the Airport - which was intended to help relieve congestion at Madrid-Barajas Airport - coincided with news that Barajas would open a new 4th Terminal. Ciudad Real's intention of helping to relive pressure on Spain's busiest Airport was therefore no longer required.

Local interest was also questionable, with the Town's 75,000 residents being unlikely to satisfy claims that the Airport would serve 7 Million passengers per year - figures comparable to Alicante Airport.

Tourism was hardly likely to fill the void, with the INE reporting how the number of Hotel Room Nights attributed by Foreigners visiting the area each month ranging between just 1,300 to 5,000.

Not surprising that the facility soon became unviable, with Vueling - the last Commercial Airline to operate from Ciudad Real Airport - pulling the plug on October 29th 2011.

Things didn't bode well for the administrators of the facility in finding a new buyer quickly when part of the land purchased by the facility to build a new terminal was returned to the former owners by the courts.

Delays in construction at Ciudad Real Airport were also costly due to the land designated being an area of Special Protection for Birds.

Since the departure of the last private flight in April 13th 2012, the facility has only really made the headlines for reasons not associated with aviation :

* Being used as a race-track by UK TV's Top Gear team, which openly made fun of Spain's 'White Elephant' construction projects.

* A film set for Pedro Almodovar : Ciudad Real Airport back in Operation (just not as an airport...)

* A setting for a Volvo truck commercial, staring Jean Claude Van Damme : * Spain's Ciudad Real Airport 6th 'most visited' in World 2013

Assuming that a buyer is found for Ciudad Real Airport next week, they are sure to face a multitude of challenges, should the operation of a viable Commercial Airport be at the forefront of their intentions.

Comment on this Story

So when factoring in the debt that any new buyer must also pay for, the true cost will be 400 Million Euros ? - That's twice what Castellon Airport cost to build !
Tyler - Sun, 22nd Feb 2015

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