Ferrovial, Saerco Win Spanish ATC Contracts

September 29, 2011

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Spanish airport authority AENA has awarded builder Ferrovial and private company Saerco contracts to manage 13 airport control towers, completing the first stage of a wider state sell off plan.

The government wanted to privatise the management of the towers, which faced a wildcat strike by air traffic controllers last December that paralysed airports, before the planned sale of a 49 percent stake in the AENA state holding company.

Spain's ruling Socialists also plan to auction Madrid and Barcelona airports this year to reduce borrowing requirements and convince international markets the country is serious about cutting its deficit.

Yet, the conservative People's Party, widely expected to win parliamentary elections on November 20, opposes the privatisations, leading some investors to question whether the sales will go ahead this year.

Ferrovial, which bid with UK air traffic controller NATS, will operate towers in Alicante, Valencia, Ibiza, Sabadell, Seville, Jerez, Vigo, A Coruna, Melilla and Cuatro Vientos, while Saerco will operate three towers in the Canary Islands.

The annual cost of the service will be EUR€18.1 million (USD$24.7 million), down 50 percent from the current cost, AENA said in a statement on Wednesday.

(Reuters)