Billion-dollar Spanish airport sold for 10,000 euros

Chinese company only bidder in auction for Ciudad Real’s Central airport, whose operator went bankrupt in 2012.

In this photo taken on May 11, 2011, an unfinished terminal walk-way is seen at the new
Chinese group Tzaneen International tabled the single bid in Friday's auction, Spanish media said [AP]

An abandoned Spanish airport which cost about 1.1bn euros ($1.2bn) to build has been sold for 10,000 euros in a bankruptcy auction.

Ciudad Real’s Central airport, located about 235km south of the capital Madrid, became a symbol of the country’s wasteful spending during a construction boom that ended with the financial crisis of 2008, the year the airport opened.

The operator of the airport went bankrupt in 2012 after it failed to draw enough traffic.

Chinese group Tzaneen International tabled the single bid in Friday’s auction, Spanish news agency Europa Press said.

The receiver had set a minimum price of 28m euros. If no better bid is received by September, the sale will go through, the news agency said.

Tzaneen International reportedly plans to invest up to 100m euros in the airport and make it a cargo hub. The offer is for the airport infrastructure only, not adjacent land.

Central has one of Europe’s longest runways and was designed to handle 2.5 million passengers a year.

The construction was heavily funded by the Caja Castilla La Mancha savings bank, the first of Spain’s troubled savings banks to be bailed out in 2010.

Another largely unused airport and symbol of wasteful spending is Castellon, on Spain’s eastern coast. It cost about 150m euros and opened in 2011.

Source: AP