MADRID – Between 2022-2026, the Spanish government will invest €2.25 billion in airport expansion and improvement. However, it is remarkable this budget does not include the expansion of El Prat (Barcelona), but that of Barajas (Madrid).
Last Tuesday, the Council of Ministers approved the billion-dollar investment in the Spanish airport manager AENA. As expected, the Catalan regional government has not pressured the government to allocate €1.2 billion for Josep Tarradellas-El Prat airport. However, an amount of €1.6 billion will go to improving Adolfo Suárez-Barajas airport in the Spanish capital.
Dora II for improving airport network
Dora II, as the AENA investment plan is called, is, according to government spokesman and Minister of Territorial Policy Isabel Rodríguez, “an essential tool to guarantee the accessibility and usability of the Spanish airport network”. The minister is referring to improving the capacity and quality of the airports.
Political not public interest
The largest Catalan employers’ organisation Foment del Treball yesterday again urged the central and Catalan governments to continue negotiations on the expansion of El Prat as a ‘national project’. In a press release, the employers’ organisation said that both governments, as well as the parties that support them, are more interested in their short-term political interests than the public interest.
Aena faces a loss of income of €1.5 billion. This is because the Spanish government lowered the rent of shops and restaurants at airports. The adjusted rent has been frozen for five years to “attract new businesses” and support the air transport sector’s recovery.
‘Sustainable and qualitative recovery’
Aena Director Maurici Lucena has confirmed that Dora II “provides stability. And is the much-needed impetus for a sustainable and quality recovery of the aviation sector and tourism”. Likewise, Lucena said that Aena’s fares remain the most competitive in Europe. And that the infrastructure of Spain’s airport network is one of the most efficient.