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South airport row: night closure will have “terrible” consequences 

PAGE 1 South airport row

Need for expansion highlighted again

Anger is continuing to mount over AENA’s plan to close Tenerife south airport at night for three months though the fears have been dismissed as “groundless”.

Numerous organisations and individuals have been adding their objections, claiming the move – from April 3rd to June 30th to allow urgent runway repairs – will prove detrimental to the island’s holiday fortunes.

But AENA has hit back, saying “no tourist will stop coming to Tenerife because of this” and that most of the airlines, with the exception of Ryanair, had rearranged their schedules to fit in with the unavoidable maintenance.

AENA director, Mario Otero told Spanish newspaper El Dia the work could not be carried out without closing the runway or by sections or lanes.

“We chose to close for three months at night when there is less activity and the least impact on operations,” he said.

Not to do so would have made the potholes worse: the previous time had been in 2003.

He also revealed that when the work on the south airport had been finished, hopefully in a timescale less than the three months, it would be the turn of the north airport. However, Los Rodeos will not need to be closed at night because it already is.

Sr. Otero told El Dia they did not know how many flights would be affected by the maintenance at Tenerife south as there would be diversions and reschedules.

He said it wasn’t possible to open the north airport during these three months as is being called for by a number of groups, including the Gomera Socialist Group.

Spokesman of ASG in the Canary Parliament, Casimiro Curbelo said AENA “has not taken into account an alternative to the closure of the Tenerife South airport at night because it is a key infrastruc-ture for the mobility of Canaries and tourists. “

He acknowledged the works were necessary to ensure security at the airport but “regrets that AENA has not had any foresight in this regard” and does not understand why it has not taken into account the airport in the north of the island to reprogramme the flights which have been cancelled.

Tenerife South airport is the third airport with the highest profitability in Spain, with a mobility of more than 11 million passengers per year.

Sr. Curbelo reiterated the need for the terminal to be extended and the second runway to be built at the airport in the south of the island, with the aim of allowing the Canary Islands to have this second runway in the near future. A second track was also needed on La Gomera.

The Mayors of Arona, Adeje and Guía de Isora have also voiced their objections, saying the three month closure is unacceptable.

“The north airport has no nighttime activity and now the airport of the South is going to close at night for three months. The island will be totally isolated and the consequen-ces for the citizens and the tourism sector will be terrible,” they claim.

They also say it reinforces the need for a second track, a call supported by the Provincial Federation of Construction Entities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Fepeco) which wants to see a new terminal as well.

“It’s a real upheaval,” said Fepeco president, Oscar Izquierdo who claims the needs of Tenerife are falling on deaf ears.