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Malaga Airport. File image. Ñito Salas
Government fails to get backing for privatisation of Malaga Airport air traffic control

Government fails to get backing for privatisation of Malaga Airport air traffic control

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A proposal demanding the withdrawal of the plans for privatised air traffic control towers in Bilbao, Santiago-Rosalía de Castro, Palma de Mallorca, Gran Canaria, Tenerife South and Tenerife North has been drawn up

Ignacio Lillo

Malaga

Tuesday, 28 February 2023, 13:46

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Elements of various national parties have indicated they will not support the privatisation of air traffic control systems across some of the main airports in Spain, including Malaga.

EH Bildu, Esquerra Republicana and BNG have prepared a joint Non-Legal Proposal (PNL) in which they demand to «paralyse and withdraw the ministerial order of February 9 2023, that the control towers of the airports of Bilbao, Santiago-Rosalía de Castro, Palma de Mallorca, Málaga-Costa del Sol, Gran Canaria, Tenerife South and Tenerife North will be managed by civilian providers of air traffic control.«

They warn that these airports are of high operational complexity, «leading to a risk of deterioration of the services currently provided through state provider Enaire personnel, whose quality standards have been repeatedly recognised by the different state and international organisations».

Savings

Likewise, the privatisation processes show that «there are no improvements in terms of the economic efficiency or in terms of the working conditions of the staff and their safety».

Any theoretical savings from privatisation will go to national operator Aena's private investors, which distribute 80% of the annual profits among its shareholders as dividends, with no savings being passed onto airlines or customers.

A reduction in the guarantees regarding the working conditions is also feared by the unions, including layoffs, and an increase in workload which could threaten aviation safety.

Safety

The annual reports published by Enaire, since 2013, indicate that Aena's cost for the aerodrome service per operation has been decreasing from €98.60 to €55.60 in 2019. «A policy of lowering costs leads to precarious services that are critical from the point of view of security» confirmed the union.

Safety is another concerning element, with approach control and tower control functions being separated at more airports, which can lead to increased risk.

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