After the huge investment during the last years in the Spanish airport net there are three terminals which are closed, four have no scheduled flights and other twelve which hardly have planes.
Out of the 42 airports managed by Aena, only 10 are profitable and 4 out of them are in the Canaries. Tenerife South is leading this profitable airport list. The most updated information from the Ministry of Public Works (Fomento) is of 2011 when Tenerife South got a profit for 24.98 million euros, Gran Canaria obtained 22.93 million and Lanzarote 8.67 million. Fuerteventura finished that year with a balance for 1.21 million euros. In the contrary, La Palma lost 14.67 million euros, Tenerife North 6.6 million, El Hierro 5.29 million and La Gomera 3,62 million.
In 2012 32,847,813 passengers went through the Canary airports.
However, the overall debt of Aena reaches 12,313 million euros and the yearly loss is about 220 million.
Considering the above, Europe aims to control the “airport bubble” which has arisen in Spain. They intend to do that in steps, along the next decade. The main target of this directive, to come into effect in 2014, would be to prevent the waste of public resources. It would focus in the public support to investments in airport facilities which would be allowed only if “there is a real need and the public support is required to guarantee the access to a region”
In theory, the decrease of subventions from the EU would not affect to the Canaries. However, the local airport management is claimed from the Canary Islands in order to reinvest if not all, at least most of the generated profits.
In this line, a senator from El Hierro, Narvay Quintero asked the Spanish Government for the Fifth Freedom application in the Canary Islands, which would allow airlines from a country (Germany, for example) to embark passengers and cargo in a second country (Spain, for instance) to transport them to a third country (it might be Venezuela) as long as the second part of the flight is a continuation of the first one.
He said that, so far, the interest of the country has been to concentrate all the operations in Madrid. However there are American countries and some airlines which have already requested the Fifth Freedom in the Canary Islands, since the expenses are lower for them to connect with Africa through the Canaries rather than Madrid.
Source: La Opinión de Tenerife