Up to 30 state-run Spanish airports to close

Up to 30 state-run Spanish airports to close

As many as 30 of Spain's 47 state-run airports are to be partially shut in an attempt to reduce costs.

Some have no scheduled flights yet are fully staffed and operational in what has come to symbolise the reckless public spending projects that have left Spain crippled with debt, the Daily Telegraph reports.

There are a total of 20 airports that handle fewer than 100,000 passengers a year, well below the estimated 500,000 they need to be profitable.

Among the worst performers are Badajoz airport, near the Portuguese border in western Spain, which saw its last commercial flight take off in January.

In Huesca, a town in northern Spain billed as the "gateway to the Pyrenees", local authorities have subsidised the rare passengers flying in, just 2,781 of them in the whole of 2011, spending an estimated €1,600 on each traveller through its terminal last year.

The fully staffed terminal in Huesca, including numerous restaurants, are open year-round even though the commercial flights bringing skiers to the region only operate during the winter months.

The nation's two private airports are faring no better, according to the newspaper.

Ciudad Real, which opened in 2008 with the expectation of becoming Madrid’s second airport to rival Barajas, was cut from scheduled routes last October due to a lack of demand from passengers.

To the east of the country in Castellon, the town's airport inaugurated in March 2011 at an estimated cost of €150 million has yet to have a single aircraft touch down.

A spokesman for state-run airport operating company AENA said: "We are analysing each one, airport by airport, to find where we can make cost-cutting.”

He warned that it was not a simple job and that three quarters of the airports could face being partially closed.

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