Spain plans airport privatisations

Spain is to sell off its two main airports and put its airport operator AENA into a partnership with the private sector.

In a move to improve the country’s flagging economy, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero revealed Madrid's Barajas and Barcelona's El Prat airports will be sold to private operators under 40-year licences.

Zapatero also revealed that a 49% stake in AENA will be sold to private bidders – having originally proposed to sell off only 30%.

The Spanish government hopes to raise €9bn (US$12bn) from the asset sales, while it also aims to increase interest from the private sector in the country following the economic crisis.

Spain’s economic recovery suffered a setback in the third quarter of this year, as the government’s severe austerity measures began to take their toll, with construction companies particularly badly affected.