Castellón–Costa Azahar Airport
Aeropuerto de Castellón
Aeroport de Castelló
|Serves||Castellón de la Plana|
|Location||Vilanova d'Alcolea, Benlloch|
|Elevation AMSL||360 m / 1,181 ft|
The airport was officially declared "open" by local authorities in March 2011, shortly before regional elections and as total cost reached €150 million, despite having neither airlines signed up to land there nor government approval to operate. Delayed for several years, commercial flights were due to begin on 1 April 2012, but the first commercial flight to the airport landed on 15 September 2015.
In February 2012, it was reported that modifications would have to be made to the runway before the airport could be brought into use. It was then later reported that the runway was to be dug up entirely.
The airport has become a symbol of the wasteful spending that has helped sink Spain deep into a recession and a banking crisis. For instance, the company in charge of running the airport, Aerocas, was found to have spent 26 million euros, a sixth of the cost of the airport, on sponsoring various sports teams in its region. Also, a $375,000, 24-metre-tall statue, often interpreted as a representation of Carlos Fabra, the formerly powerful local politician who was the driving force behind its construction, was erected just outside the airport. Fabra has been under judicial investigation in connection with several cases of corruption and tax evasion, and was sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud in December 2014.
On 14 January 2014, nearly four years after the formal opening of the airport, a first flight departed from Castellón-Costa Azahar. Air Nostrum charter flight YW2003 carried the Villarreal CF football team, which is sponsored by the airport itself, to San Sebastián for their Copa del Rey match against Real Sociedad.
The first regular scheduled, albeit seasonal, flights from Castellón-Costa Azahar to Bristol and London Stansted, operated by Ryanair, began in September 2015. The European Union has opened a formal investigation into whether both the Canadian company that manages the airport (SNC-Lavalin) and Ryanair are receiving illegal subsidies from the regional government.
Airlines and destinations
- "Castellon De La Plana Airport (CDT) Website". SNC Lavalin. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- Burns, Justin (27 January 2014). "Investors bidding for Spanish 'ghost airport'". Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Spain's Vacant Airport Typifies European Woes". Miller-McCune
- "First commercial flight lands at Spanish 'ghost airport' nearly five years after it opened". The Daily Telegraph. September 15, 2015.
- Fabra, María (2012-02-14). "Airstrip at Castellón's plane-free airport needs to be widened". El País. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Fiona, Movan (2012-02-15). "Spanish 'ghost' airport's unused runway to be dug up". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
- "In Spain, a Symbol of Ruin at an Airport to Nowhere". New York Times. July 18, 2012.
- "EU denuncia que el aeropuerto de Castellón gastó 26 millones en patrocinios". El País. April 4, 2014.
- The Guardian: Spanish politician who built ghost airport begins jail term for tax fraud
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