Spain’s white elephant airport spents 30 million euros on advertising
The scandal of a “ghost” airport in Spain that has yet to see a single passenger through its terminal has deepened with revelations that 30 million euros has been spent on advertising it.
Castellon airport in Spain’s Valencia region was inaugurated in March last year after an estimated 150 million euros (£130m) was spent on its development.
But not a single aircraft has landed on its runways after the airport failed to secure a license and was unable to attract airlines to add the destination in their routes.
The airport has become a symbol of reckless public spending on ill-thought out projects across Spain that has left the country crippled with debt. A recent report showed that only 11 of Spain’s 48 airports were profitable.
Now, Just days after the debt-laden autonomous region was forced to seek assistance from the central government to stall a default on a loan of 123 million euros, details of the accounts of the Spain’s newest airport have been made public.
It emerged that 30 million euros was spent on publicity for CastellÃ³n’s airport as it was promoted at tourism fairs, according to a report in Spain’s daily El Pais newspaper.
The airport even became the sponsor for first division football club Villarreal CF, whose players bore the airport logo on their strip for three seasons in exchange for 2.35 million euros. The sponsorship was later extended to CD CastellÃ³n.
But while all advertising for the stricken airport has now been put on hold, a 25 meter high metal sculpture is currently being erected in front of the gleaming, and abandoned terminal, at a reported cost of 300,000 euros.
The sculpture, by artist Juan Garcia Ripolles, is said to represent Carlos Fabra, the former premier of the CastellÃ³n province, who masterminded the airport project.
After 16 years in power for the conservative Popular Party, he was forced to step down last June pending an investigation into tax-fraud, influence peddling and bribery.
It was hoped that CastellÃ³n airport would open up a new area of Spain’s eastern coast to tourism, although the region is already served well with busy international airports in Valencia and Alicante to the south and Barcelona to the north.