okay
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Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:23 am

Hi guys,

I came across this interesting though heart breaking article about Ciudad Real (CQM) Airport, which was supposed to be the pride of Spain but has declined to a junk yard. Read Daily Mail's article here .

There was a thread about the airport and its controversies on A.net when the Airport was opened back in 2008.

Sad but somehow intertesting to see these pictures of an abandoned Airport. Quite amazing!

I hope one day this Aiport is taken into use again. What you think, will we see that day?

okAY
 
edina
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:28 am

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smws
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:03 pm

Quoting okAY (Thread starter):
I hope one day this Aiport is taken into use again. What you think, will we see that day?

Judging by the economic state of Spain at the moment and, actually, all across the world, I'd seriously doubt it. Also, it seems that the construction of the airport was already ill-advised from the start and the investors were just too damn optimistic. It's sad to see it in such a sorry state, but unfortunately, I don't see any sort of future for it (in terms of aviation, at least).
 
einsteinboricua
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:14 pm

I find NIC a real example of a ghost airport. Seeing pictures of it...now that's a creepy airport.
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smws
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:22 pm

 
gabrielchew
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:24 pm

Rather sad to see, but people were waaay too optimistic a few years ago. I actually went to Cuidad Real back in 1999 on my first Spanish Exchange....what a dreary town in the middle of nowhere. Being one of the few stops on the AVE should have been enough, but a massive airport....now that was a stupid idea. I guess Vueling stopped flying there as there was no demand? I guess even Ryanair weren't duped into flying there.
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Clydenairways
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:32 pm

I'd say this is more a result of bad planning more than the economic situation.
Once MAD had expanded and had room to fit all the LCC's FR,U2 etc. there was no longer a need for a seperate low cost airport to serve MAD.
But even knowing that there was massive expansion coming soon in MAD, the developers and planners went ahead with CQM regardless.
 
spiritair97
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:36 pm

Did a plane ever even land there? It is heartbreaking to see this.
 
eicvd
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:50 pm

Quoting spiritair97 (Reply 7):
Did a plane ever even land there? It is heartbreaking to see this.

I think FR had the odd flight from there & AB did have a daily flight or 2 to their PMI hub.
COYBIB
 
PanHAM
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:51 pm

They should have invested in a couple of windmills, which would have been fitting for "Don Quijote Airport".

Under that name, this place had a booth at numerous Air Cargo Fairs and Exhibitions around the globe. Populated by a lonely Sancho Pansa who had better not listened to the jokes of the people passing by. Participating in such exhibitions costs around US$/€ 10K for a small stand which, of couse is small money compared to the 1 Billion construction costs lost in the sand.

On a trip to oversized MAD (OK, they have plenty room to grow) last year, I saw a deserted toll highway and mentioned that to my wife, saying that I wish that wehave something like that in Germany. Later that day we took a train to Toledo from Atocha. About half way there was a deport for AVE high speed train, at a peak time in the afternoon I could make a quick count and it was more than 2 dozen Million € trainsets sitting there idle, not making any money. I could continue making remarks about Madrid's cathedral subway system. What can be achieved when others have to pay for it.

Compared to all that, Aeropuerto Don Quijote is small money lost à fonds perdue.
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ORD14R
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:27 pm

I'd like to point out that Ciudad Real (CQM) is privately funded, so it differs a bit from the publicly funded airports mostly run by AENA. However, there are some publicly funded Spanish ghost airports as well, check out Castellón (CDT), Córdoba (ODB) and I have some serious doubts about the future of other provincial airports such as Burgos, Salamanca, and even Lleida, Reus and Girona as Ryanair and the like move to the expanded BCN.

Spain is in a real tough spot, even though they have done wonderful things with expanding their infrastructure over the past two decades. Arguably too much. Another factor is that as the highway system and high speed rail continually expand, they provide not only competition to domestic air travel, but also the ability to leapfrog the local provincial airport in favor of driving or flying to the nearest hub. Take Ciudad Real for example...small town I know...but in less than an hour you are in downtown Madrid on the AVE, grab a cab and unless it's peak traffic time you are out to Barajas in 15-20 mins. Or drive yourself on mostly 4 lane divided highways and you're there in 2 hours and change. Plus you get the benefits of nonstop flights out of MAD and tons of airlines competing against each other driving prices down.

I think the same thing is happening (in the opposite direction, for tourists) in many of the provinces located close to MAD, BCN, and even airports such as AGP.

Here in the US I often wonder if our recent lack of investment in new and improved infrastructure will come back to haunt us. Should Spain come through this crisis, they are well poised, from an infrastructure standpoint, to grow to meet demand.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:57 pm

True, he airport itself was privately funded. However, one can safely say that a lot of this private funding was given by banks who had to write off their investment or loans and now need to be backed by the EU, the ECB and other institutions that are part of the rescue plan.

Plus, the local infrastructure was based on public funding, access roads , utilities etc and that adds to the public debt Spain is currently fighting.

MAD is far from running at capacity. there is simply no need for a reliever airport somewhere in the boonies, the freight hub is at Vitoria and both MAD and BCN have room to grow. But even if they would run at capacity, it is simply not feasible to build a reliever airport 100 miles away into the desert, even when it is connected by HSR to the city. Besides the tickets would cost often more than the airfare itself. At least when charged at true costs. look at what Heathrow Express charges for the small distance.

We joked about Don Quijote at the exhibitions and wondered that Rosinante should be a white elephant rather than a horse.

I agree to the point that Spain has all the infrastructure it needs for the next 50 years. That should enable the country to pay the loans they get now. They are certainly in a better position than greece.
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r2rho
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:58 pm

Quoting okAY (Thread starter):
supposed to be the pride of Spain but

Certainly not meant to be the pride of Spain, for which it was of no importance, but rather of the region of Castilla La Mancha which promoted its construction.

Quoting clydenairways (Reply 6):

I'd say this is more a result of bad planning more than the economic situation.

Correct, and in particular it is a prime example of Spain's (still) out-of-control regions, which went wild with spending during the boom years without any control from the central government.

Quoting clydenairways (Reply 6):
Once MAD had expanded and had room to fit all the LCC's FR,U2 etc. there was no longer a need for a seperate low cost airport to serve MAD.
But even knowing that there was massive expansion coming soon in MAD, the developers and planners went ahead with CQM regardless.

Correct. In the days of tiny old hypercongested MAD, CQM may have made some sense, but once MAD was expanded (and that decision was taken long before CQM construction began, so there was plenty of time to cancel the project), CQM lost any business case there could have been. Still, I think one day it could perhaps reopen for cargo flights and general aviation, when the crisis is over... but I see no future in commercial flights.

Quoting ORD14R (Reply 10):
I'd like to point out that Ciudad Real (CQM) is privately funded, so it differs a bit from the publicly funded airports mostly run by AENA. However, there are some publicly funded Spanish ghost airports as well, check out Castellón (CDT),

Actually, most of the ghost airports in Spain are precisely the ones not operated by AENA, and promoted by the regions through the (now bankrupt) regional savings banks - CQM, Castellon, Lleida, and there was (is?) another ghost airport under construction in Murcia. There was private investment in there, yes, but also with heavy involvement from the politically-controlled regional savings banks, in which the line between public and private simply did not exist.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 9):
oversized MAD

Careful what you say... if MAD is oversized, then MUC should not get the 3rd runway, etc...  
 
PanHAM
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:27 pm

Quoting r2rho (Reply 12):
Careful what you say... if MAD is oversized, then MUC should not get the 3rd runway, etc..

that's why I added the dsclaime rimmediately in parenthes  
Quoting PanHAM (Reply 9):
(OK, they have plenty room to grow)

The runway capacity should be sufficient for some time to come , what they indeed need is a terminal for thhose carriers are not in the shiny new IB terminal. Whereas MUC indeed is at capacity, at least the runways.

Besides, I am the last one who speaks against new or existing runway capacity, but the one we discuss here is as obsolete as tits on a bull.
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tonymctigue
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:07 am

Holy crap! This makes urban planning in Ireland look quite brilliant in comparison. Did I read correctly that this aiport has a 4,000 m runway? According to Wikipedia it is just over 2,000 feet above sea level but seriously, what were they thinking was going to be taking off from there? Fully loaded A380's bound for Australia? People give out about airports in Ireland being white elephants but none of them cost that much to build and most (i.e. not GWY or SXL) still at least have some commercial traffic using them. All I say is I hope the proponents of Tubber Airport in Ireland, a similarly idiotic idea for an airport in the midlands, read this article before they come out with their claims that they need an airport in their region in order to compete with Dublin for economic growth.
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Braniff747SP
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:36 am

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 9):
About half way there was a deport for AVE high speed train, at a peak time in the afternoon I could make a quick count and it was more than 2 dozen Million %u20AC trainsets sitting there idle, not making any money

AVE trains are long-distance trains; there is no such thing as peak timing. But I don't doubt that there is an excess of trainsets. Most of these were likely ordered before the world ended in 2008, though, and now they have them.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 9):
I could continue making remarks about Madrid's cathedral subway system

What is wrong with the subway? That's something that is very widely used and provides an excellent service... I think you'd find most people in support of it. They've not expanded very much since 2008, anyway; most of it was done in periods of economic growth. All of their expansion plans to new areas that were being built have been put on ice, as there is no money to build them and no reason to, seeing as most of this new housing is empty.


Back on topic... Ciudad Real never made any sense. They've already got the high-speed AVE train, and MAD is far from being at capacity. They can get to MAD easily by train; and MAD has no need for a reliever airport.
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mark777300
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:13 am

To this day I can still hear my Uncle saying how this airport was such a huge waste of money to the people of Spain. It really is an airport that is placed in the middle of nowhere. Quite honestly, i see MAD having plenty of capacity to meet an increase in demand in the future, and while the city continues to enchroach on the airport boundaries, the airport is in a good position for growth. What is needed there is a modernization of the rest of the airport to cater to the "other" airlines that are not part of IB and One World. The one issue that will stunt growth as it already does at many world airports, are the growing oppositions displayed by area residents over any increase in flights or the addition of a new runway. Otherwise, the need for another reliever airport outside of Madrid is seriously unecessary for the forseeable future. There are many airports around the world that sit idle or underused and are sometimes the result of an overzealous group of people who feel that "if you build it, they will come."

Seeing several parked AVE trains at a depot at certain times of the day is not unsual nor is it a waste of tax payer money as it may seem at first. The depot that you speak of that is indeed half way between Madrid and Toledo, is also not only for storage, but is used for repairs and cleaning of the trains. In the USA, and more so to speak in New York, Commuter and subway trains sit idle for many hours and are used for only a small part of the day. Peak times are very short, and from what I have seen when visiting family in Madrid, the afternoon "rush hour" is somewhat later than the usual 5pm peak time in the USA. The railways will always have much more equipment (Trains) on their roster than what they normaly need in order to meet the demands during the very short peak hours of the work week. Running an empty or almost empty train will waste even more money by the use of electricity/ diesel, staff, etc... Airlines can't copy this practice. The cost of having a large fleet of airplanes that are used for a short part of the day will cause and airline to bleed money. To my knowledge, the airlines generally have to meet their schedule while having a certain amount of aircrafts that are not in service for maint / checks / and other unexpected issues. But they don't usually have a huge reserve of aircrafts in their fleets. Rail operations are a very different breed of animal in the transportation world.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:28 am

I am in transport in general and as mentioned, have had information about this ghost airport long time before ground was broken.

Infrastructure is needed and in some modes of transport Spain had to catch up. Fine and OK. Developing the main airports and building HSR rail at the same time relieving the just expanded airports from a good number of domestic flights, OK as well. Better having some over capacity for some time than operating over capacity without the chance of expansion.

BTW, on my many rail trips I have never seen the number of HSR trainsets sitting idle at any rail depot of Deutsche Bahn. They have always been rather short of train sets. Take it from a total transportation person.
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UALWN
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:41 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 9):
What can be achieved when others have to pay for it.

Who do you think payed for the Spanish infrastructure? Germany? Think again. (Actually, Germany got paid, since all the new AVE trains are built by Siemens...) Just let me point out (again) that Spain's debt-to-GDP ratio is, even now, substantially lower than that of Germany.
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PanHAM
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:56 pm

Siemens is a privately owned company. Siemens is not Germany and vv. . Parts and pievces come fro m many European countries in the single market, certainly from Spain as well and lots of the money came from Brussels where we are the biggest single net payer. I think that I mentioned somewhere that I am confident that Spain will emerge from the crisis, meanwhile the taxpayers in some European countries are backing the guarantees to the Spanish banks. To stay on topic, some money lost on that curious airport with 4000 meters of runway in the boonies is part of the loss the banlks have and the local infrastructure lost by the municipalities and regions as well.
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taichen
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:07 pm

Well, it was never supposed to be "the pride of Spain" ... where did you get THAT from ?
It is just one of many rather stupid investments local savings bank supported ... which explains, to some extent, the current state of Spanish economics. Add a few blind local chauvinism (there was a time where some people thought there should be an airport and a high speed train link serving every city with a population over 20000 habitants, it seems), quite a lot of corrupt politicians and bankers and ... well, here is the result.

Vueling. Air Berlin, Air Nostrum (not sure about Ryanair) all flew to Ciudad Real and its hilarious website showed every single aircraft movement as a big success, a milestone for the city and a great leap forward for Spain, the EU and the humanity as a whole. ...

There is even worse, though. Ciudad Real did get some flights, after all. Castellon, on the other hand, was inaugurated and never ever a single plane landed there. That's another rather long history to tell ....
 
Braniff747SP
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:10 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 17):

Infrastructure is needed and in some modes of transport Spain had to catch up. Fine and OK. Developing the main airports and building HSR rail at the same time relieving the just expanded airports from a good number of domestic flights, OK as well. Better having some over capacity for some time than operating over capacity without the chance of expansion.

Absolutely. Helping MAD become better is fine; but helping in cope with non-existent traffic it with an airport in the middle of nowhere... Not useful and a waste of (badly needed) taxpayer funds. 

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 17):
TW, on my many rail trips I have never seen the number of HSR trainsets sitting idle at any rail depot of Deutsche Bahn. They have always been rather short of train sets. Take it from a total transportation person.

Deutsche Bahn and Renfe are far from being comparable.
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BasilFawlty
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:24 am

If there's not even a single Ryanair service at the airport there must be something SERIOUSLY wrong with it. 
Quoting PanHAM (Reply 17):
BTW, on my many rail trips I have never seen the number of HSR trainsets sitting idle at any rail depot of Deutsche Bahn. They have always been rather short of train sets.

Over the past years there was indeed a shortage of ICE3 trains, but that's being solved now with the new ICE3 deliveries this year.
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r2rho
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:28 am

Quoting tonymctigue (Reply 14):
Did I read correctly that this aiport has a 4,000 m runway? According to Wikipedia it is just over 2,000 feet above sea level but seriously, what were they thinking was going to be taking off from there?

I think one of the ideas in the original "business case" was to attract cargo flights, hence the long runway (it is also pretty hot in the middle of La Mancha). Lying on a north-south axis between Madrid and Andalucia, cargo is the only thing that IMO could perhaps resurrect the airport someday when economic recovery starts again. But there are other existing airports that could perfectly take more cargo too... so not much of a chance for CQM really. It was dead from the beginning.

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 22):
If there's not even a single Ryanair service at the airport there must be something SERIOUSLY wrong with it.

As a matter of fact, FR is a good indicator. When even they tried and failed, it is clear that the airport has no hope...
 
PanHAM
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:02 pm

Cargo is mainly handled at Vitoria which is an integrators hub and also attracts regular cargo flights In addition to that, of course MAD and BNC have the belly freight.

I said before that they tried to feature the airport at cargo shows, they never got a single customer. Bo integrator would have located a hiub in the middle of nowhere, and no long distance freighter would land a loaded 747 there and then truck the 100 tons to MAD and vv.

This was a dead Rosinante from the start, whichever way you may flogg the horse.
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Clydenairways
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:23 pm

Quoting r2rho (Reply 23):
As a matter of fact, FR is a good indicator. When even they tried and failed, it is clear that the airport has no hope...

FR eventually got a deal they were happy with at MAD and subsequently established a base there. If in the future airport charges at MAD become prohibitive, then FR may look at CQM again, but, as others have already mentioned, the extra cost of a ticket on HSR would wipe out the value of any cheaper fares you could charge from CQM.
 
UALWN
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:44 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 19):
I think that I mentioned somewhere that I am confident that Spain will emerge from the crisis, meanwhile the taxpayers in some European countries are backing the guarantees to the Spanish banks.

Oh, but the Spanish banks are privately-owned companies. They are not Spain. Just like Siemens is not Germany...

In any case, no, that airport was not a good idea. And there are other examples elsewhere in Spain...
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SuperCaravelle
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RE: Ciudad Real-Spain's Ghost Airport

Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:46 pm

I hope some Dutch local authorities go and have a look there. It looks sad, but they want to reopen Twente Airport (in the middle of nowhere and still 1.5 hours away from AMS or alternatively an hour away from Münster-Osnabrück, and develop Lelystad Airport into a commercial airport (which is in the middle of nowhere too, without infrastructure to support it).

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