Ghost Airport: New Hope For $200 Million Airport With 1 Flight
a tale that makes Canada's ill-fated Mirabel Airport look like a success story.
Castellon International Airport (IATA Code CDT if it has somehow slipped your
mind), opened in 2011 after a $200 million investment. Apart from one charter
flight last January, the white elephant airport has lain deserted for the 4
project was conceived towards the end of Spain's building bubble that burst in
2008 sending the country crashing into recession. Bizarrely, construction went
ahead despite no Spanish domestic or international airlines saying they'd use
it… and worse, without any official government approval to operate it.
man behind Castellon, former local politician Carlos Fabra, is now serving four
years in prison on tax fraud charges after a court last December heard of
millions in unexplained earnings, with Fabra dubiously explaining that he'd
consistently won Spain's Christmas Lottery.
is in Spain's north-east and with its long Mediterranean coastline and
mountainous interior has been growing in popularity in recent years as a
tourist destination. But most travellers fly into Valencia just to the south,
or Barcelona to the north.
was “officially opened" with much pomp and ceremony on 25MAR, 2011. One of the
airports features is an odd, 25-metre high statue of the now incarcerated
Carlos Fabra that has been variously described as whimsical, eccentric, weird
after the facility opened, pilots pointed out a significant problem– the runway
was too narrow to allow planes to turn around. In 2012 it was dug-up and
widened, adding even further to the cost of the flightless facility. The
widening made no difference -- airlines continued to show no interest in
landing at CDT, making a mockery of projections that the airport would attract
600,000 passengers a year.
the years suggestions for putting the airport to use have included turning it
into a car racing track and making the terminal a shopping mall.
now there's a ray of hope, courtesy of low-cost airline Ryanair. FR has
announced that it will start flying thrice-weeky from STN to Castellon and
twice a week from BRS in time for the 2015 Easter holiday season, and hopefully
carrying 60,000 pax by the end of the year.
multi-national airport operator SNC-Lavalin has been hired to operate CDT for
the next 20 years. The company says it is hopeful the airport will be handling
200,000 passengers a year by 2017. But it also says it needs to see 1.2 million
passengers annually before the local provincial government can even look at
starting to recoup its costs for the airport – and SNC-Lavalin estimates that
won't happen until at least 2029.