Ciudad Real Central Airport
|Ciudad Real Central Airport
Aeropuerto Central Ciudad Real
|IATA: CQM  – ICAO: LERL – LID: CQM|
|Serves||Ciudad Real and Puertollano|
|Location||Ciudad Real, Spain|
|Elevation AMSL||636 m / 2,086 ft|
Ciudad Real Central Airport (IATA: CQM, ICAO: LERL), previously known as Don Quijote Airport and South Madrid Airport, is an airport south of Ciudad Real in Spain. Located adjacent to the A-43 motorway and a short distance from the AP-41 toll road, it was projected to have a connection to the Madrid–Seville high-speed rail line, making it the first Spanish airport to be linked to the AVE system. Via AVE, the airport would have been 50 minutes from central Madrid, 50 minutes from Córdoba, and less than 2 hours from Seville and Málaga. It was the first international private airport in Spain, costing €1.1bn to build.
In April 2012, the airport was closed after just three years in operation, its management company having gone into receivership. It had not received scheduled flights since December 2011, when low-cost airline Vueling withdrew its last route. A BBC News magazine report suggests the airport was planned to fail by its investors, who benefited from construction contracts awarded to their own companies.
The airport has a single runway (10/28), 4,400 m (14,436 ft) long and 60 m (197 ft) wide, capable of serving national and international commercial flights (regular and charter). Part of the airport is for private and sport flight facilities. It was planned to have a maintenance area, a heliport and an industrial zone of over 8 km². The passenger terminal could process a maximum of 10 million passengers a year, and its cargo facilities a maximum of 47,000 tonnes a year.
International flights to the airport began in June 2010, but by October that year all international routes were cancelled, and the airport filed for bankruptcy with more than 300 million euro of debt. The airport is now in receivership. Due to poor planning and overoptimism on the part of large financial investors, major deficiencies in the early planning stages were overlooked. A single airline signed up to fly out of the airport and none of the potential airlines that were considered were interested in using the airport. The passenger traffic was measured in the low thousands, compared to the anticipated traffic of up to 10 million. The outlook is bleak after closure. The airport has contributed significantly to the financial trouble of the creditor institutions and the Castilla-La Mancha Regional Government.
As of 1 June 2012, the instrument approaches have been removed from the official documentation. The airport ceased operation on 13 April 2012. The airport was put up for auction on the 9th of December 2013.
In June 2010, Ryanair began the first international service into the airport, running three flights per week from London Stansted. These flights were operational until 11 November 2010, and the low-cost carrier flew approximately 22,000 passengers into the airport during the six months they served the route. The route operated three times weekly, but due to a breakdown in trade agreements with Ryanair and financial difficulties of the airport, the route was cancelled, and 22 jobs were lost.
The Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling served the airport with flights to Barcelona El Prat Airport and Palma de Mallorca Airport, but flights to the airport ceased on 29 October 2011. Air Berlin served the Palma de Mallorca route, ceasing service on 30 May 2010. The Spanish regional carrier Air Nostrum flew from Barcelona El Prat Airport and Gran Canaria Airport during 2009.
An episode of Top Gear aired on 14 July 2013 (episode 3 of series 20) which featured the three presenters visiting the empty terminal building and racing their cars on the closed runway.
Volvo Trucks shot in 2013 a clip "The Epic Split feat. Van Damme (Live Test 6)" on the landing field. 
- "CQM is a IATA identifier on the official IATA site". Iata.org. 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2013-08-07.
- Think Web Content S.L. "Ciudad Real airport to close tomorrow". Thinkspain.com. Retrieved 2013-08-07.
- "Ciudad Real airport shuts after just three years". Theolivepress.es. Retrieved 2013-08-07.
- Harter, Pascale (26 July 2012). "The white elephants that dragged Spain into the red". BBC News Magazine. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- Don Quixote's phantom airport – El Pais, 31 October 2011
- Spanish ghost airport goes on block – ABC, 9 December 2013
- "Ciudad Real welcomes first international scheduled flight; Ryanair to serve London Stansted three times per week". 2 June 2010. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012.
- Ryanair cancels the route between Ciudad Real and London from 11 November, La Vanguardia, 27 October 2010
- , Youtube clip
- Busch, Simon (2013-12-10). "Spanish 'ghost airport' goes on the block". CNN. Retrieved 2013-12-11.