Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in early October for a few weeks
'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Friday, 3 June 2011

Corvera airport - where we're at

(Please see UPDATE at end)

The short explanation for the title above is "Who Knows?" - not particularly useful, I think you will agree.

Over the past few months I have been reading various brief newspaper articles about the progress being made in the developing of the projected "Corvera International Airport", but much of what I have been reading might best be classified as public relations "puff", rather than hard news. This was particularly the case prior to the recent regional and local government elections held throughout Spain and with particular reference to this projected new facility, in Murcia Region.

One of the decisions I took when I decided to start this blog (in October 2007, my other and 'main' blog having been operational since April 2002) was to eschew almost all comment on the internal politics of Spain. And in my opinion, the new Murcia Region airport at Corvera is very largely dependent upon politics - regional Murcian politics and wider Spanish national politics. There is of course already a significant international airport in Murcia Region, located at San Javier (identified by the three-letter code MJV), but it is, like many other airports in Spain, operated by AENA, a national airport authority. MJV also shares its civilian facilties with military usage, indeed the airport was originally developed for the Spanish military and only later became available for civilian use. It is commonly referred to a "Murcia San Javier" airport, but is located quite some distance from the regional capital, the city of Murcia.

The 'vision' of the Murcian Region government is, I think, to have a 'major' international airport of its own, located somewhat closer to the city of Murcia (but in the case of Corvera, still not very close), to try and rival the major airport at Alicante (ALC), which has of course recently opened its own super-duper, much larger new terminal. Alicante airport is located in the Alicante Region of the neigbouring Communitat Valenciana (Valenciana Community). As Alicante airport is not much further from the city of Murcia than MJV, and indeed not much further than the new Corvera facility, the desire to have a new airport seems to relate more to desire for regional 'status', rather than be much related to present or likely future traffic projections, specially as MJV has recently inaugurated a second runway, with the specific aim of allowing civilian traffic to take off and land earlier in the day (until now, civilian traffic has been limited to mid-late afternoon to mid-late evening).

The 'vision' of the Murcia Region government seems to be for MJV (over which it has no control, for civilian or of course military traffic) to revert to carrying only military traffic - so the new second runway, although no doubt still useful, would really serve no practical purpose - with all its civilian traffic, and any future growth, instead being transferred to use the new Corvera facility, which it does own and control. Given an attractive landing-fee regime, I imagine that many of the airlines which currently use MJV would be happy enough to transfer their flight traffic for this part of Spain to the new facility. Quite how this would benefit the bulk of the flying public to this part of Spain is not entirely clear to me. Some of the recent press reporting I have read has focussed on the disgruntlement of staff currently employed at MJV (and presumably living in the nearby area in many cases) about having to move up the road to Corvera, even if their jobs will still be available, although the Murcia Region government has regularly stressed that jobs will be protected (whilst at the same time it still seems to be training many new staff for the new facility).

The most recent newspaper article I have read, this morning in fact, contains no hard information, except to assert that the new facility remains on target to commence operations in the early part of next year, the same theme that has motivated many recent regional government 'press releases' on this project.

For my part, last week I made it my business to reconnoitre the route to and from the new airport, with specific reference to people travelling to and from Mazarron Country Club (MCC) (where I have my own holiday home) so that when it opens I will be in a position to include driving route suggestion for the new airport to the information I have already published for driving to/from the three existing feasible airports in the area (Alicante - ALC, Almeria - LEI and Murcia-San Javier - MJV); I now have sufficient information to allow me to include similar information for Corvera when it becomes operational.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, I do my best to keep my "foreigner's nose" rigidly out of Spanish politics, specially as I do not live here permanently, but in this case if I am to comment at all on the new Corvera airport it is impossible to avoid reference to local politics completely.

UPDATE (Saturday 17SEP2011 13.50 BST - 14.50 CET) I posted an update on the situation with the projected new airport at Corvera a few days ago, here - it seemed as if there were 'positive' developments concerning the likelihood that the new airport would benefit from the traffic currently using Murcia-San Javier airport (MJV) as neogiations were said to be underway for its closure, but denials a day later seem to cast doubt on there having been any meaningful change.

2 comments - please add your own: said...

Some good, solid info there Bill, Well researched.

Mick said...

A good analysis Bill.