Abandoned Airport: Ciudad Real

Nothing highlights the current Spanish financial problems like a new and abandoned airport. Opened in 2009 at a cost of €1.1bn, the Ciudad Real Central Airport saw light use before being shut down in April of 2012.

Ciudad Real is a Spanish city about two and a half hours south of Madrid.  The airport was to be the first linked to the Spanish high-speed AVE rail system, making the trip to Madrid only 50 minutes.


When originally designed, Ciudad Real was expected to handle the overflow from Madrid’s Barajas airport 150 miles to the North.  The airport never saw demand from the major airlines, however, securing only one airline’s agreement upon its grand opening.

Spanish carrier Air Nostrum announced routes in 2009, but these were over by 2010. Ryanair announced in 2010 it would open new international routes to Ciudad Real Central Airport, but these lasted only six months before a breakdown in trade agreements – combined with the airport’s financial difficulties – terminated the routes.

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)


The Spanish carrier Vueling was the last airline to utilize the airport, ending their service to Ciudad Real in October of 2011.

From then on, only the occasional private aircraft would make use of the expansive facilities.  Due to financial difficulties and lack of use, the airport closed on April 13th, 2012.

Currently the airport is closed and is in receivership.

Passenger traffic – estimated to be in the tens of millions – was ultimately only in the tens of thousands.

Even though the airport is closed, it still requires maintenance.

Small tasks such as painting yellow crosses on the runway to alert pilots the airport is closed, are important and must be carried out.

Below you can see the AVE (Spanish high speed train) passing by

Video of the airport:

Story idea courtesy Mohammad G.



    • talking to myself: I was listening to the radio in the car about some airport in Spain that went bust. Lo and behold, my knowledge on the matter allowed myself to gloat a little while peering at the ill-informed person in the car beside me. Thanks Sometimes-Interesting!
      You too, can gloat. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01l1dk9

  1. The happened to Montréal’s Mirabel airport…a state of the art airport shut down after a few years. All those poor farmers that have lost their ancestral land over a ariport that didn’t last.

    • Are you kidding me ?
      The Mirabel airport, although a flagrant example of political bickering which doomed it’s international status, is still open as a cargo airport. It is also open to general aviation.
      And ancestral lands ? The area has been farmed for at most 80 years and most farmers got their land (except for the airport area itself) during the 1990s.

  2. I’m Sure this Airport if well managed will have a good future, and will generate good economy to the provence..It is intesepated to be a gateway for many Low Cost Carriers, plus freight/ cargo flights, and Cargo companies…Private Operators from Europe..Middle East…Far East…North / South America, it will be the bridge between South America’s and the Middle East, Africa
    This Airport could boost the Trades between East and West for the Ideal location it has, right in the center of Europe, not far from north Africa, and other part of the Middle East…. Far east.

    We will attract many GCC Carriers, plus other Carriers, from all over the world, offering good services, plus good rates on all the services provided by the Airport.

    This Airport will have a bright future,once it starts all over again…

  3. That’s the result of the infamous Plan E, an attempt by the Spanish government to estimulate economy and employment. It was a complete failure, as you can see. A lot of the facilities that were built are now abandoned or underused, like airports and high speed train stations (AVE) in small towns.

    Nice blog here, keep it up 🙂

  4. I think this airport was used in a recent episode of TopGear. They used an abandoned international airport near Madrid. I can’t imagine there would be more than one.

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