Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain towards the end of January 2018 for about a month
'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Could the new Corvera Airport completely replace Murcia-San Javier?

That is certainly the ambition of Murcia Region President Valcarel, who announced yesterday afternoon, during a visit to the under-construction Corvera facility that it is [almost], as reported by La Verdad newspaper, a 'done deal' for the new Corvera International Airport not to have to compete with the existing Murcia-San Javier facility; I use the qualifier 'almost' because Sr. Valcarel stated only that the Murcia Region administration is 'about to finalise' ['está a punto de cerrar con AENA un acuerdo'] an agreement with AENA (see * at end) for the existing Murcia-San Javier (MJV) airport to close to civilian traffic when Corvera airport becomes operational, now tentatively expected for the first quarter of 2012, and for MJV in future to be used solely for military training purposes, in other words to revert to the purely military function it had in earlier years. Sr. Valcarel envisages that the AENA staff currently employed at MJV, and all the flights which use that airport, would simply move to Corvera.

Sr. Valcarel's announcement came only four days after the second runway at MJV became operational, the specific purpose of the second runway built at a cost of €67mio, being to allow better civil use of the airport without interfering with military flights.

The reporting in La Opinión de Murcia, another regional news outlet, is somewhat different. Whilst carrying the same basic story about Sr. Valcarel's Corvera visit as La Verdad, it has additional reporting of comments made by the Spanish government delegate in Murcia, Rafael González Tovar, who denied almost immediately after speaking at night with various offices of the Ministry of Development, that the closure of MJV would occur. He added that he was 'surprised' by Sr. Valcarel's announcement, stating that it "did not conform to reality" and that he was indulging in electioneering. specially after, according to Sr. Tovar, having been staunchly opposed to the involvement of AENA for the past eight years, during the planning of Corvera airport, but now he wishes to take their employees. Similarly according to the Spanish government's Murcia delegation yesterday, the Secretary of State for Transport Isaiah Tapu informed the Minister of Public Works, José Ballesta, it was not going to authorize closure (of MJV).

As with so many aspects of life in Spain, there is rivalry between national and regional governments, specially where the national government is of one political party and the regional government is of the main opposition party. No doubt it will become clear in due course who will win this particular 'battle', although it seems to be accepted on all sides that there may not be sufficient air traffic for both airports to function efficiently and profitably at least in the very early years and whilst the world and Spanish economy is in recession.

* - AENA (Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea) is the Spanish public entity that owns and manages most airports in Spain, with the exception of a couple of privately-owned airports and is also responsible for air-traffic control throughout Spain.

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