Minister for Public Works sues pressure group as courts investigate whether Antequera airport plan should be taken off national priority list
A HUGE legal row has broken out after a pressure group questioned a minister’s motivations for promoting the Antequera airport plan.
Minister for Public Works Magdalena Alvarez filed court papers against Antequera Habitable after the group suggested that she might have connections to Grupo Vera, the construction company behind the scheme.
The news came as the airport plan came under threat from being withdrawn from the list of “projects of national importance”.
Alvarez had managed to get the scheme – which would take up 1100 hectares of Antequera’s famous fertile farmland, known as the Vega – included on the list in February, just weeks before the general elections.
But, according to a platform that represents pressure groups in Malaga, this was done “too hurriedly” without the necessary public consultation stages.
Airport is a front for ‘urban-speculation’ and in ‘clear violation of the law’
It was also done without due consideration of the environment or other nearby airports, with Granada, Cordoba and Sevilla, all within an hour of Antequera.
The group, known as La Nueva Cultura del Territorio (NCT), insists that the airport is an unnecessary project for Antequera and is a front for further “urban speculation”.
A report submitted to the High Court – which will now investigate the case – insists that it was done “almost in secret” without proper checks and is “a clear violation of the law”.
It reads: “We have just invested 1000 million euros in the expansion of Malaga airport increasing passenger numbers from 13 to 24 million despite the lessening of numbers of flights and passengers over the last seven months.”
It adds that Antequera is only 30 minutes from Malaga and will be just 20 minutes when the new Las Pedrizas toll motorway is finished.
“Where is the general interest for Malaga and the city of Antequera in particular, that will have planes flying right overhead?”
The project has also been heavily opposed by agricultural trade unions, the IU party, Ecologistas en Accion and local pressure group Antequera Habitable.
The latter may have gone a step too far last week when it issued a press release questioning whether Alvarez might have some underhand involvements with Grupo Vera.
The group hinted that she might have some financial interest in the scheme that would see a huge “airport city” rising in the middle of some of Malaga’s best farmland.
It was a statement that so upset the minister that this week she went to court to have it overturned, with Antequera Habitable quickly relenting and withdrawing the claim.