According to the Minister for Public Works, José Blanco, the new management structure for Spanish airports will still give the Government the majority control but will open the door for private capital to be invested, up to a maximum of 30%, from autonomous communities, councils and chambers of commerce, at airports which have a high volume of traffic or whose management is especially complex.
The new law, currently going through the channels, provides for the creation of a new public company, AENA Aeropuertos S.A., which will manage the 48 state airports. The communities will participate in the new trading company via subsidiaries on whose board of directors AENA will retain the majority. Nevertheless, Blanco stresses that the Government would like this participation to be "really effective" and has called for people qualified to approve strategies such as routes, slots, budgets, attracting new clients, contract details and taxes.
The minister announced that each autonomous community would also have an "airport committee" to co-ordinate planning policies and another to develop tourist routes based on demand, economics and other transport infrastructure. Both committees will be controlled equally by the Government and the autonomous district.
Blanco advised that only nine of AENA's airports made a profit in 2009, amongst which were Mallorca and Ibiza, and that the overall loss was 423 million euros, which he warned could rise this year to 597 million euros. He stated that the new management structure was vital for this reason plus a new law that would tackle the deficit and reduce the costs of flights and labour.
Passenger numbers up
December's figures for Menorca's airport showed an upturn of 8.8% in the number of passengers compared to the same month in 2008, the biggest increase for any airport in the Balearic Islands, followed by Ibiza with a rise of 3.2%, according to AENA, the body which manages the airport.
A total of 70,365 passengers arrived on the island by air, 68,809 from Spanish airports and 1,532 from abroad. Notwithstanding, the number of flights to and from Menorca airport dropped by 13.4% in comparison with twelve months earlier, to 1,235.There was also a drop in the volume of cargo during December, the 174,120 kgs. being 9.5% less than in 2008.