INFRASTRUCTURE

Madrid to give go-ahead for new airport near planned macro-casino

Popular Party regional government denies choice of El Álamo site is connected to Eurovegas project

Madrid’s regional government has this week announced that it will be going ahead with plans to build an airport on the southwestern outskirts of the city, just a 10-minute drive from the planned site for Eurovegas, a controversial macro-casino complex due to be built in the suburb of Alcorcón over the coming decade.

According to the Popular Party regional government — which has flatly denied that the choice of the site in El Álamo has anything to do with the Eurovegas project — the new airport will be up and running by 2018.

The investment required, which is estimated at 230 million euros, will be put up by a private company, which will then be granted the operational license of El Álamo airport for 40 years.

“It’s infrastructure that Madrid desperately needs,” said the regional environment chief Borja Sarasol on Tuesday. “It follows the example of Le Bourget in Paris, and is completely independent of Eurovegas. This airport would have been built with or without Eurovegas.”

The government of the Madrid region, which attracts 70 percent of all foreign investment in Spain, is keen to see the end of private jets having to land at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base, to the northeast of the city. The government argues that if Madrid is chosen to host the 2020 Olympic Games, air traffic will rise sharply in the city. Madrid’s rivals to host the Games that year are Tokyo and Istanbul.

“Business figures look for speed, and given that commercial aviation takes preference over [private jets], there are cases when they can spend two hours waiting in Torrejón for permission to take off,” explained Pablo Cavero, the regional transport chief, on Tuesday.

The regional government believes that the project will create 2,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs in the region, while the planning and construction of the new airport are expected to generate 15,000 jobs over a three-year period.

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