What’s a ghost airport? Airports that are either totally abandoned, doesn’t work or never really managed to get the customer numbers planned. This doesn’t count closed airports, they are a different perspective entirely, airports are usually closed due to being outdated or just not relevant anymore, they often carry on as either smaller operations handling charter flights and what have you, turn into racetracks or just vanish.
Ghost airports are the fuck ups, so join me, as we travel the amazing world of useless airports.
Let’s start with the shining ball of utter idiocy that are the Spanish Ghost Airports, the fact that this is a category should really clue you in.
Ciudad Real Central Airport is the biggest of the failures, building during the height of freewheeling spending before the Crisis, this Airport was obviously not built so serve any sort of real demand or at least they didn’t commit sufficiently.
There was a plan to built a station on a nearby highspeed trainline, enabling you to get to Madrid itself quickly, but guess what? Another failure, the walk bridge to the station was built, the station never was, and that’s a bonus Bridge to Nowhere for you all.
I do have to give the bridge some credit, at least it’s a covered bridge, this airport lies at an elevation of 636 meters, in the middle of Spain, that means cold winters and hot summers, so someone, somewhere at the very least looked at some climate data.
The damn thing is more than two hours away from Madrid by car, no wonder the last carrier left in 2011, the operating company went under a year later, now the airport stands empty and non-functional, the staggeringly incompetent local Spanish government thinks they can sell the silly thing for millions of EUROs, they’d be lucky to get any to take it off them.
The best offers they’ve gotten: 28 million from a unidentified British group, but it fell apart due to “complications”, the other one? Ten thousand Euros from a Chinese company.
They should have kept the original name of the airport: Don Quijote Airport.
Let’s move on to Castellón–Costa Azahar Airport, was opened in 2011, then the fucking runway had to be modified, then dug up, then the Operating company, Aerocas, spent 26 million Euros, a sixth of the aiports total costs, on sponsorships of local teams, a statue of a literally corrupt politician was put up outside the airport, and I really mean literally, he got four years of prison for it.
It wasn’t until 2014, almost four years after the opening, that an actual plan used the airport and that was because the airport sponsored a local football team and they had fly somewhere.
In 2015 Ryanair swopped in and began flights, the EU is now investigation the whole thing, because the local Spanish government probably subsidizes the whole thing, which is illegal.
Then there’s Beja Airport over in Portugal, now, to be fair, this one wasn’t a massively expensive boondoggle, mostly because it’s actually an old West German military airport, this was an attempt to turns a military airport into a dual usage airport, they built a civilian terminal and hoped for the best.
Unfortunately, the region is thinly inhabited, the city of Beja has some 35.000 inhabitants, so it’s really only used for charter flights at this point, and frankly, five thousand travelers in 2018 is just all kinds of sad.
This one is a much smaller failure to be fair, compared to its Spanish cousins, this thing will probably convert into cargo only and it is used for various support activities, essentially being a large parking area for airplanes.
So not a total failure, only a partial, typical Portuguese, just can’t commit to total failure like their Spanish cousins.
Let’s go to Canada for this last one: Montréal–Mirabel International Airport.
This was the largest planned airport in the world when it open back in 1975, fortunately, only Phase 1 opened, not the rest of this abomination.
There were several factors that caused this failure, oil prices dropping (Subsidies had kept local prices artificially lowered), the fact that most continental traffic would stay at the previous airport and just plain better planes.
Now? Well, Bombardier has their plants at the site, there’s plenty of cargo coming in, there’s a racecourse and a whole bunch of other industrial activity, but this was still a huge waste of money.
There’s also Berlin Brandenburg, but that one’s such a failure it deserves its own special feature.