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Spain's White Elephants

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 26 July 2012

The state-of-the-art Aeropuerto Don Quijote in Ciudad Real opened for business at the end of 2008. The vision was to create an air hub in the heart of Spain, and its backers believed it would bring business, jobs and tourists to this underdeveloped region. But just over three years later the airport closed - bankruptcy proceedings are on-going. Now it lies abandoned and empty, the silence broken only by birdsong and the occasional whoosh of a high speed train.

In Crossing Continents, Pascale Harter tells the story of a project with its roots in Spain's building boom-years. Was the airport doomed by the economic crisis, as its supporters claim? Or was it always fanciful to imagine that a region with little industry and tourism could sustain an airport with a capacity for five million passengers a year? And what does the building of the airport tell us about the relationship between local business, politicians and the now defunct local banks - the Cajas?


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