THE SUPREME Court of Spain has ruled that the management company first contracted to build Corvera Airport, must repay €183 million of a government bank loan.
Aeromur, who were awarded the contract as far back as 2007, must now repay the debt that had accumulated after years of delays in the construction of San Javier airport’s replacement – despite being bankrupt.
An initial 21 month timescale was agreed, and then extended by a further 18 months, along with a loan of €200 million from the Spanish government.
However, after a further three years, it was decided the contract should be rescinded, as there was still no progress towards completion.
AENA took over the project in 2017, and the facility opened in January of 2019.
Controversy has overshadowed the entire project since it was first announced in 2003 that a replacement for the much-loved San Javier Airport, on the Mar Menor, was needed.
It took four years to find a contractor to build it, that company being the now bankrupt Aeromur.
Talk of an AVE high-speed rail link to Murcia and Cartagena never materialised.
The €200m loan was seen by some as a breach of EU law, and was unfair to other airports.
Landowners complained that they had not been paid the agreed amounts to give up their homes to make way for the airport.
Ongoing improvements and expansions at Alicante-Elche Airport, only 60 miles away, threatened the viability of such a big site.
Guardia Civil were called in to take possession of the airport in 2013 on behalf of the government, to ensure no assets were removed after the Aeromur contract was rescinded.
The government-backed bank loan was called in and AENA finally won the contract at the end of 2017.
After a year of operation, passenger figures are still low, with flights in and out of Corvera sometimes as low as one or two a day.
However, during the recent storms and operational problems experienced at Alicante-Elche Airport, the Costa Calida site has proved a welcome addition to the transport network of southern Spain.
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