Saga of Spain’s unused, over-budget, delayed, badly planned airport at Castellon

Castellón-Costa Azahar Airport is an airport in eastern Spain.  It has become a symbol of the wasteful spending that has sunk Spain deep into a recession and a banking crisis.  It was officially declared “open” by local authorities in March, 2011 despite having no airlines signed up to land there, nor government approval to operate. Delayed for several years and at a current cost of €150 million, commercial flights were due to begin on 1 April 2012 but, as of August 2012, there have been none and it now might open in January 2013. A $375,000, 79 feet tall statue of Carlos Fabra, a local politician, was erected in the airport. Fabra has been under judicial investigation in connection with several cases of corruption and tax evasion – the statue is now some €127,000 over budget. The runway has had to be dug up and rebuilt as it was too narrow for safe operation.


Castellon Airport : ‘Mistakes were made’

Sat 28th Jul 2012 (Tumbit)
Castellon Airport : 'Mistakes were made'

The president of Valencia, Alberto Fabra, yesterday admitted that the Castellon Airport project “had not been well-managed”.

The regional premier went on to confirm how Castellon airport will be in a position to welcome tourists “in principle” next year, but has stated that there should be a “minimum flight and duty” to ensure that the operation of the airport does not impose on regional finances.

Fabra was addressing a forum at a breakfast meeting where he was asked about the future of the airport, responding that the facility will become operational, but only when the best operating consitions could be guaranteed.

The President also confirmed that the airport would not open until a certain number of flights per week could be guaranteed, but declined to explain what that number would be.

He also explained that the final licences and certificates were under approval, and that the state Airports authourity – AENA – would not have any involvement at the facility.

Read our archive of news articles on Castellon Airport by clicking the link > HERE < .



Spanish ‘ghost’ airport’s unused runway to be dug up

A “ghost” airport in Spain that has yet to see a single passenger through its terminal is now to have its runway dug up because it does not meet regulations.

Spain's white elephants – how country's airports lie empty

Castellon airport, which has not seen a single passenger come through its doors

By , Madrid  (Telegraph)

15 Feb 2012

Castellon airport in the east of the Spain was inaugurated in March 2011 after an estimated 150m euros (£130m) was spent on its development but almost a year later, and having failed to secure a license to operate, the virgin airstrip is to be torn up.

The State Agency for Air Security has found that its main strip is too narrow for airplanes to turn around, and will have to be widened to meet regulations.

It is the latest revelation in an ongoing saga of an airport that has come to symbolise the reckless public spending of ill-thought out projects across Spain that has left the country crippled with debt.

Regional officials were aware of the narrow-runway problems within weeks of the airport opening but kept it under wraps, Spain’s daily newspaper El Pais revealed on Wednesday.

Last month it emerged that 30 million euros had been spent on publicity for Castellon airport despite the fact that it had failed to secure permits to receive air traffic.

The private contractor hired to run the airport for 50 years is demanding that the regional government of Valencia reimburse 80 million euros for cancelling its contract.

It was hoped that the new airport would open up a new area of Spain’s eastern coast to tourism but airlines have so far failed to be persuaded to add the destination to their routes.

The region is already well served by busy international airports of Valencia and Alicante to the south and Barcelona to the north,

A recent study showed that of the 48 regional commercial airports built in Spain over the last 20 years, only 11 make a profit.



Gov’t report slams Castellon Airport

1st Aug 2012 (Tumbit, Spain)
Gov't report slams Castellon Airport

A recently released hard-hitting report paints a gloomy picture for the future of Castellon Airport – assuming of course that it opens as promised, by Jan 1st 2013.

A detailed study of the Tourism sector of Castellon was recently undertaken by the Ministry of Labour’s Observatory of Occupation department. The annual report concluded that excessive property development – including the airport – has been focussed around the ‘unrealistic expectations’ of tourism sector in the province.

The document notes that these expectations were based on the ‘boom years’ when Castellon was promoting a number of world class golf courses, on the back of which they hoped to sell a number of off plan properties, launch a niche tourism industry and operate a financially viable airport. Five years down the line the many developments remain unsold, the Golf courses un-built, the tourists nowhere to be seen and the airport un-operational.

The study concludes that gamble failed due to “a lack of total sector modernization”, and that Castellon was “in a poor competitive position” compared to other provinces.

Data for the report was obtained from the Public Employment Service, the National Institute of Statistics, the Valencian Employment & training Service, and other public bodies, and found that the sector has other problems, such as “a heavy reliance on the domestic market.”



Castellon Airport sculpture €127,000 over budget

4th Aug 2012 (Tumbit)
Castellon Airport sculpture €127,000 over budget

Work has now been finished on the controversial and unpopular statue of Carlos Fabra, situated on the roundabout immediately in front of the terminal building at Castellon Airport.

The 25 mt high, 20 tonne bronze sculpture has now had the scaffolding surrounding the structure removed following the placement of a stainless steel model airplane at it’s highest point. Although it has been widely reported that the statue / sculpture is of the president of Aerocas – the company behind the development of the airport – and former President of the Province of Castellon, Carlo Fabra, this has been denied by the artist.

Barely 4 weeks ago headlines in the Spanish press mocked the model being manoeuvred into position, noting the “arrival of the first airplanes at Castellon Airport”.

It was also suggested that the cost of the sculpture as overrun the €300,000 budget by some €127,000, although none of this has yet been paid to Juan Rippolles, the artist.

Following the lavish “opening ceremony” at the airport in March of 2011, since which no airplane has yet arrived at the facility, it is expected that Aerocas will forego the embarrassment of an official unveiling ceremony for the piece.


Castellón Airport to open on January 1 2013

Jun 26, 2012
The undertaking was made by Carlos Fabra speaking at the Castellón Chamber of Commerce

Francisco Camps and Carlos Fabra official opening the Castellón Airport in March 2011 - EFEFrancisco Camps and Carlos Fabra official opening the Castellón Airport in March 2011 – EFE
enlarge photo

The President of the company promoting Castellón Airport, Carlos Fabra, has said that it will be operational on January 1 2013.

Fabra, who is the ex President of the Diputación de Castellón, gave the news to the Castellón Chamber of Commerce, where he criticised those who tried to make the airport the subject of daily debate in the media.

He said that he had spoken to technicians and companies which ‘had an interest in collaborating’ and said that he was keeping contact with the Ministry for Development ‘to try and bring forward the dates’.

Fabra officially opened the Castellón Aiport with the then President of Valencia, Francisco Camps, in March 2011, but it has not seen a single aircraft since then.



Earlier news stories about ‘Castellon’ airport:


….. and there are many more older articles at