Gov­ern­ment to close San Javier Air­port if Corvera opens

Min­is­ter says ‘it makes no sense’ to op­er­ate both Mur­cia-San Javier and Corvera

Costa Almería News - - Front Page - By Nuria Pérez

The na­tional gov­ern­ment in Madrid has stated that the asyet un­opened air­port at Corvera will serve the Mur­cia re­gion – and there is no room for Mur­cia-San Javier in their plans.

This is their blue­print if state air­port com­pany AENA is given the green light to run Corvera air­port, ac­cord­ing to min­is­ter for pub­lic works, Íñigo de la Serna.

He an­nounced on Tues­day that his depart­ment has sub­mit­ted the nec­es­sary tech­ni­cal and fi­nan­cial bids to run the air­port.

The of­fer in­cludes the cost of mov­ing all flights from San Javier to Corvera.

AENA is now the only com­pany bid­ding to run Corvera air­port af­ter French com­pany Edeis de­cided on Mon­day to pull out of the race.

Fol­low­ing this an­nounce­ment, Sr de la Serna re­vealed that he favoured clos­ing pas­sen­ger op­er­a­tions at San Javier.

He pointed out that “run­ning two air­ports which are 23 kilo­me­tres apart makes no sense” and that mov­ing flights from San Javier to Corvera was “a mat­ter of com­mon sense”.

He claimed that Corvera could be a prof­itable air­port and said it of­fered ‘growth ex­pec­ta­tions’ and bid­ding for it was a rea­son­able thing to do.

The min­is­ter stated that the in­vest­ment needed to equip and run the air­port was around €500,000 and an­other €5 mil­lion would be bud­geted for “other con­tin­gen­cies”, but he did not re­veal how much AENA had of­fered to run the air­port.

Min­is­ter de la Serna said it had not yet been de­cided whether Corvera would ap­ply the same taxes as other Span­ish air­ports, which in­crease the price of flights of­fered by air­lines.

Re­gional coun­cil­lor for pub­lic works, Pe­dro Rivera an­nounced that the re­gional hir­ing board would meet today (Fri­day) to open the bids and award the man­age­ment of Corvera air­port.

He said that their aim was to get the best com­pany to run the air­port, which was a “cru­cial fa­cil­ity to boost tourism and the re­gional econ­omy”.

If this is AENA – the only bid­der - it is un­clear why the pub­lic com­pany would pay to run Corvera but re­ceive no com­pen­sa­tion for their in­vest­ment in pas­sen­ger ser­vices at San Javier.

The doc­u­ments do not make a sin­gle ref­er­ence to €70 mil­lion they have spent on the Mar Menor air­port.

The man­age­ment con­tract is for 25 years and ac­cord­ing to the ten­der doc­u­ments the com­pany awarded the ser­vice has an eight month dead­line af­ter sign­ing to carry out all tests and ob­tain the com­pul­sory licences and cer­tifi­cates which are is­sued by both na­tional and in­ter­na­tional agen­cies.

Ac­cord­ing to the ten­der, the es­ti­mated pas­sen­ger num­bers for Corvera air­port are nearly 1.5 mil­lion dur­ing the first 10 years and 2.3-2.7 mil­lion dur­ing the fol­low­ing 15 years.

How­ever, Corvera will have to com­pete against Ali­can­teElche air­port – also run by AENA - which stands closer to the main tourist ar­eas of Tor­re­vieja and Ori­huela Costa.

The ten­der does not make any ref­er­ence to the €200 mil­lion bank loan to con­struct Corvera air­port which is be­ing paid by the re­gional gov­ern­ment as the guar­an­tor.

About 400 peo­ple are work in San Javier air­port - but only 70 of them are AENA em­ploy­ees - and their jobs are now at risk.

Trade unions CCOO and UGT have asked the re­gional and na­tional au­thor­i­ties to guar­an­tee that all work­ers will keep their jobs and their rights.

UGT spokesman An­to­nio Jiménez said: “It is un­think­able that a profit-mak­ing air­port like San Javier could be closed down.”

He ad­mit­ted he was wor­ried that Corvera air­port would be­come a ‘branch air­port to Ali­cante-Elche air­port’.

More­over, the shop­ping and restau­rant area of San Javier air­port was re­cently re­fur­bished by the pri­vate com­pa­nies awarded the ser­vices, whose con­tracts have not yet ex­pired.

San Javier air­port is fac­ing clo­sure

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