Corovera Airport is one of the newest greenfield airport projects in Spain. The airport is being constructed in the Murcia region of Spain, which is already served by San Javier (itself undergoing expansion) and Alicante Airport (difficult to expand being in an industrial zone).
Projections for the increase in tourist numbers in the area over the next ten to 15 years have convinced the federal government and several large financial backers that the new airport is a very viable and profitable enterprise.
Murcia is undergoing a building boom with the construction of several large and prestigious resorts that could be more easily served by the new airport. Some examples of these are Polaris World golf resorts, Los Jardines del Puerto, Fondoso Valley, Corovera Golf and Sucina Golf and Country Club.
The new airport will be situated near to the town of Corovera in the Sierra de Carrascoy Mountains, which is around a 20-minute drive from the City of Murcia.
Corovera Airport is expected to attract a range of low-cost European and UK airlines by offering favourable terms.
Corovera planning and finance
Plans for the airport were first put forward in 2005 and were given the go-ahead by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister, and also Ramón Luis Valcarcel, the President of Murcia.
However in 2006, just after planning had been granted, objections were raised by Armilar-Procam, a Spanish development company, who suggested that the airport should not have been granted planning consent because it would cause noise pollution in the area beyond the legal set limits.
Despite a court case over the matter, which halted preliminary construction work, the planning consent was confirmed and the project began. The region of Murcia is seeing unprecedented development and construction (many golf and residential resorts being developed) and a new airport is seen as a necessary part of the infrastructure.
The airport is estimated to require €266m to construct and outfit including acquisition of the site. The Government of Murcia in January 2010 assured an additional funding of €200m for the project. It has been estimated that the new airport could triple the number of visitors to the Murcia region when it opens in late 2011 or early 2012.
Corovera airport construction
The category 4E airport, which will operate 24-hours a day, is being built on a 300ha site near Corovera inside a national park (Parque Regional de Carrasco y El Valle).
Aeromur, a consortium led by Sacyr and also includes Cajamurcia, CAM, the Fuertes Group, Cementos La Cruz, Monthisa and Inocsa, is constructing the airport and will operate it over a period of 40 years.
The detailed construction plans were passed to the Ministry of Development in mid-2007 for final approval and construction started properly (site preparation has been on-going) in July 2008 with a scheduled opening in late 2011 or early 2012.
When opened, the airport will be expected to have a capacity of three million passengers a year. By the end of the concession period, the capacity is projected to have increased to 14 million passengers a year. The expansion will be carried out in a further two phases, the first one increasing the capacity of the airport by a further five million and the final phase taking this to 14 million passengers per year (additional funds are already being set aside for further development).
The initial phase of the airport includes a 3,000m runway, five hangars and a single terminal building. The terminal of the airport has three floors and a floor area of 4,000m², with only the roof of the terminal pending.
As of April 2011, construction work is progressing rapidly with a 27,000m² passenger terminal and a 32m-high control tower structurally complete. Current works include improving the security systems, plumbing and wiring in the terminal. Construction on the runway and apron is also nearing completion.
The airport has been designed to handle seven flights per hour at peak times. The runway will be 3km southeast of Corovera, near the neighbouring town of Valladolises, and also parallel with the A30 (Autovia de Murcia).