Madrid runway closure postponed by Courts

Runway 36L at Terminal 4, Madrid Barajas airport by Mario Rubio García - Flickr

On December 9, ElMundo informed that the High Court of Madrid asked Aena to cease the noise affecting the residential complex of Ciudad Santo Domingo due to the aircrafts landing at Barajas airport. In particular, Aena was requested to reduce operations by 30% the flights allocated by Aena in 2004 (about 20,730 approaches). This reduction was supposed to be effective no later than two months after the order’s notification. The 18R runway of Madrid airport was the one affected by this decision. This has nothing to do with the fact that the runway will be closed for construction for almost a month.

However, last Wednesday ElEconomista published a piece informing that the partial closure of the Madrid airport runway which had been requested by the High Court of Madrid has now been postponed by Courts. This piece summarises all the information they gathered and published in the monthly edition of their Transporte magazine. There, we learn that Aena managed to avoid the fact that the Madrid runway closure damages the upcoming company’s Initial Public Offering expected for February 11.

According to this information, the High Court of Madrid’s ruling dated on December 19, stopped the execution of the previous ruling of December 2 until the applications for reconsideration against the latter are processed. In practice, this decision means the indefinite suspension of the Madrid runway closure and hence avoids damage to the airport in the forthcoming months, just when it was finally recovering, together with the other main airports in the Aena’s net, after the financial crisis.

The complaint filed by the Ciudad Santo Domingo’s neighbourhood included 1,269 people who live at that residential complex. On October 13 2008 the Spanish High Court ruled in favour of them and ordered the cease of overflights in landings affecting a neighbourhood built before the Madrid airport expansion. However, according to ElEconomista, their complaints might have received broad media coverage due to the fact that it is a luxury residential area where prominent individuals from the world of politics, media or justice live.

Sources from Aena insisted in the fact that, if the partial closure of the runway was confirmed it might have a really negative impact on the economy of the whole country. For the moment, this temporary suspension of the Madrid runway closure gives breathing room to Aena. Now they can face the entry of private capital in 49% of the shares much more quietly as, otherwise, both the current Aena president – José Manuel Vargas – and the former one – Juan Ignacio Lema – had been summoned to testify on January 27 as informed by


Photo:  Runway 36L at Terminal 4, Madrid Barajas airport by Mario Rubio García – Flickr