Blogging from the Murcia region of Spain until early June, when I return to
the Highlands of Scotland for a few months

'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Valcárcel says Corvera Airport flights will begin "shortly"

Or, "how long is a piece of string"? To be serious though, Ramón Luis Valcárcel, President of the Murcia Region government has stated that the new International Airport of the Region of Murcia at Corvera will begin operations "soon," within "a few months" since infrastructure "is already finished", whilst further stating that baggage handling equipment is still awaited, a lacuna he categorises as "minimal".

In another media report here, he is quoted further as stating that negotiations with AENA have yet to be concluded (basically what compensation they will receive for the recent heavy investments they have made to facilities at the existing nearby Murcia-San Javier regional airport) and that these negotiations were "interrumpida durante ocho años, durante el Gobierno socialista. Ahora es cuando estamos negociando con Aena el cierre de la actividad civil de San Javier para que ésta pase con sus trabajadores al aeropuerto de Corvera" (rough translation "interrupted for eight years, during the socialist government. Now we are negotiating with Aena the closure of San Javier's civil aviation activity and for the transfer of their employees to Corvera Airport."). Is this really, seriously, what he is expecting anyone to believe happened over the 8 years of the last Government? It sounds pretty desperate to me!

In yet another media report Sr. Valcárcel is quoted as opining "El aeropuerto de San Javier tiene 1,5 millones de pasajeros, con los que cuenta de partida el aeródromo de Corvera, y no hay ningún invento nuevo, como alguno que yo he conocido en alguna región vecina y hermana" (rought translation "The airport of San Javier has 1.5 million passengers, with which to commence operations at Corvera, and this is not a fantasy, as is the case with new airports in certain neighbouring areas", an apparent reference to Castellón-Costa Azahar Airport, which has never had a single flight since it "opened" in 2011 and is not likely to in the foreseeable future, it seems. He might equally have referred to Ciudad Real Central Airport which closed in April 2012 after only 3 years in operation, its management company having gone into receivership, after having received its final flight in December 2011, when low-cost operator Vuelling withdrew its last remaining flights from it.

My summary of these three media reports is that they tell us nothing new, there is still no DEFINITE date when Corvera is scheduled to open, nor is there any clear indication that negotiations with AENA will be concluded successfully soon. Perhaps things are 'moving forward' (in that time-worn bureaucratic phrase) behind the scenes, but my feeling is that this media exposure by Sr. Valcárcel is merely designed to try and prevent the possible future opening of Corvera Airport becoming a dead issue and it going the way of other projects such as several regional airports and other high profile projects which have become white elephants.

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