Don Quijote Airport: First International Private Spanish Airport with a Public Use

Don Quijote Airport: First International Private Spanish Airport with a Public Use


B Guirao, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, ES



Don Quijote Airport is the result of an initiative arisen in Spain in 1997. In those days, a study was developed concluding the convenience for the regional economy of building a cargo airdrome which could issue a quick departure, by airway, of perishable products from the South of the country, placing them in a competitive position in the markets all over Central Europe. The initial idea of constructing a simple cargo airdrome became an innovative project through different phases, which also considered the passengers transport by using the high speed train railway due to its proximity. From the business point of view, it was also a forerunning project: the construction of the first international private airport for public use in Spain.

Related to this, the whole project of the airport involves a total investment of 1.100 million Euros, supplied in its totality by the private initiative. The shareholder which has made possible this disbursement is constituted by provincial and regional bodies, as well as by different private entities connected to the bank sector, the construction and the projects management and planning, which develop their activities in different countries of the world.

Ciudad Real is a town of 70.000 inhabitants, located at 200km south from Madrid, and the Don Quijote airport is being built, respectively, at 10km south from this town. The construction works will be finished in April 2006, and it will be put into operation in October of the same year. Ciudad Real enjoys a privileged location in the Spanish railroad network, due to the fact that the first Spanish high speed railway which was carried out in 1992 linked Madrid with Sevilla, and the high speed trains stopped in the halfway stations of Ciudad Real, Puertollano and Crdoba. Simmilarly, Ciudad Real was the first provincial capital of Spain that has been provided with more than 20 daily high speed shuttles to Madrid from 1993, and besides, the high speed railroad is at less than 3 km from the centre of gravity of the future airport area, a great opportunity that the new infrastructure should take advantage of.
The proposed paper has as a goal to estimate the demand of freight and passengers which this new infrastructure can gain, analysing those market niches in which the project can be competitive. There will be also studied the impacts that the new airport could produce not only on the local mobility patterns, but also on the territorial scope, to serve as an example for other private initiatives which might arise in Europe

To estimate that demand, the location of an airport and its insertion into the high capacity transport network becomes a key matter to analyse. With regard to the high speed railway network, Don Quijote Airport could work as a super peripheral metropolitan airport of Madrid, city to which it will be directly connected by high speed railway services for passengers, which will make possible to access to that core in 50 minutes. In this sense, the project shareholder is currently thinking about the possibility of building a railway station within the airport, as well as extending the high speed services from Madrid to the Don Quijote Airport. If all those plans are carried out, a passenger modal shift station could be built with an immediate access to an environment of more than 6 million of inhabitants in a minimum time (50 minutes to Madrid). That fact will leave a door open to the possibility of attracting the low fare air companies, in competition with the Airport Madrid-Barajas, just the same as Stansted and Luton airports do in the United Kingdom with the big London airports (Gatwick and Heathrow). To this option of exploitation, it should be added the connections with other important cities on the high speed railway network (Seville, Barcelona, Mlaga), which have an extraordinary appeal in terms of tourism and leisure, among others.

In relation to the highway network, there is not only already a highway that links Ciudad Real to the basic big capacity network but also the new Infrastructures and Transports Strategic Plan (2005-2020) of the Spanish government proposes the construction of two new axis of high capacity that would cross the province from East to West and from North to South. This issue may help the fright distribution, and related to this, Don Quijote Airport maximized, in its first planning, the traffic of air cargo, with an important logistic cargo area, which made the project more dynamic and attractive towards the setting of economic activities which needed locations near to airports. Taking into account all these activities the airport project has arranged an attached industrial area of approximately 600 hectares (ha)
Don Quijote Airport, also considers to complete its economic activity by disposing at the airport a zone intended to big aircrafts maintenance, an option which with, due to the lack of space, big airports placed in huge urban cores can't compete against. In this article there will be also described which are the European airports where these maintenance activities are operated too.
These ideas are only a part of Don Quijote Airport singularities that will be describe in the completed paper. The conclusions shown in our paper are the consequence of a deep research, in progress, that the Group of Transports of the University of Castilla-La Mancha is developing for the regional government within the European Project Pirenne II (Interreg IIIB SUDOE).


Association for European Transport