Spain's $1.2B 'Ghost Airport' Could Sell—for $11K

Bankrupt airport, symbol of nation's bust, attracts lone offer—and it's measly
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 19, 2015 8:00 AM CDT
In this May 11 2011 file photo, the new Central airport control tower is framed behind an airport sign in Ciudad Real, Spain.   (AP Photo/Paul White, File)
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(Newser) – One of Spain's "ghost airports"—expensive projects that were virtually unused—received just one bid in a bankruptcy auction after costing some $1.2 billion to build. The buyer's offer: $10,800. Ciudad Real's Central airport, about 150 miles south of 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 airport operator 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 $30.3 million. If no better bid is received by September, the sale will go through.

Tzaneen International reportedly plans to invest up to $108 million 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 around $162 million and opened in 2011.

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