Crazy Castellón and unreal Ciudad Real

Thursday, 4 October, 2012

The mania that gripped Spain during the past decade is ideally illustrated by two empty airports: Castellón-Costa Azahar in the Valencia region, which was completed 18 months ago at a cost of €150 million but is still awaiting the landing of its maiden commercial flight, and Ciudad Real, south of Madrid, which cost €1.1 billion but is now bankrupt. The hubris of the Ciudad Real project can be gathered from the fact that the runway is long enough to accommodate an Airbus A380. Instead of welcoming double-decker planes, however, the runway is now home to encroaching weeds.

In both cases, corruption went hand in hand with construction. A $375,000, 24-metre tall statue of Carlos Fabra, a local politician, was erected at Castellón airport. Fabra is currently under judicial investigation. In the case of Ciudad Real, a BBC News report suggested that the airport was planned to fail by its investors, who benefited from construction contracts awarded to their own companies. One of the companies involved in the building of Ciudad Real was Isolux Corsán, which recently began “the first phase of a multimillion-dollar government project to upgrade Armenia’s main highways stretching more than 550 kilometers to neighboring Georgia and Iran.” Isolux Corsán signed a $280 million contract with the Armenian Ministry of Transport and Communications for the project. According to Transparency International, Armenia suffers from “systemic corruption” and ranks between position 123 and 126 on the Corruption Perceptions Index, a dubious honour that it shares with the Dominican Republic, Honduras, the Philippines and Syria.

Spanish madness

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