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The report says that that not one AVE high-speed rail line is turning a profit with multi-billion investments made by past and current governments way off track

The Two paragon’s of Spain’s transport system, the AENA National Airport Authority and AVE High Speed Train Network are both badly underachieving according to recent reports.

Only 14 of Spain’s 48 Aena run airports are currently turning in a profit while every single AVE high-speed rail line is making a multi million euro loss with costs “neither beneficial to businesses nor society,” and failing to compensate passenger savings in airline tickets or time spent on the road.

The Aena report was made in their submission to the CNMV stock market watchdog following the company’s stock exchange debut that has forced it to become more transparent in its accounts while the AVE report was compiled by the Foundation for the Studies of Applied Economics (Fedea), which conducted an analysis of the major AVE routes.

The Aena report says that Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez-Barajas International Airport leads the group in terms of revenue although Barcelona’s El Prat generated the highest pre-tax profits, followed by Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife Sur and Gran Canaria. Alicante showed a profit of just over 50 million euro for the year while Murcia/San Javier reported a 0.6 million euro loss, understandable, one would think, in view of the negative press regularly rolled out by the Murcia government as they try to convince the public of the merits of opening Corvera.

The airports that reported the biggest losses before taxes last year were those in La Palma, Santiago de Compostela and Vigo. However as they are not part of the Aena network, the little-used Castellón and Ciudad Real airports – both of which have come to be viewed as white elephants because of the huge amounts of public money that local politicians spent on building them, did not feature in the report, neither of course did Corvera for the same sorts of reasons.

In terms of earnings before interest and taxes, Madrid-Barajas brought in €567 million followed by El Prat (€510 million) and Palma de Mallorca (€181 million) while four airports ended the year with pre-tax losses of over €10 million: La Palma (-€18 million); Santiago (-€15 million); Vigo (€10.85 million); and Pamplona (-€10.5 million).

Meanwhile the AVE report from the Foundation for the Studies of Applied Economics (Fedea), said that not one AVE high-speed rail line is turning a profit with multi-billion investments made by past and current governments way off track

The study looked at traffic on AVE’s four major rail lines: Madrid-Barcelona, Madrid-Andalusia, Madrid-Levante and Madrid-North which, together, carry 70 percent of all high-speed rail passengers.

The network covers 2,515 kilometers with, in an election year, the Public Works Ministry recently announcing, an additional 1,200 kilometers connecting eight further provincial capitals, under construction.

Only China has more rail lines. However, the number of travelers in Spain who use the high-speed rail service is much lower than in other countries. Researchers determined that there were 11,800 passengers for every kilometer compared with the 158,121 passengers per kilometer in Japan and 61,400 in France.

Fedea estimates that Spanish governments – including the current one – have spent more than €40 billion in constructing the rail system, with another €12 billion going to related projects.

(Fedea) said that the current demand for train services wasn’t enough to recover the investments made by past and current Spanish governments saying that such huge investments were made purely for “political gain”

“Our conclusions put in question the lack of fundamental economic reasons to make such investments in high-speed rail for Spain,” the researchers said.

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