Puertos Revisado


Published on

Published in: News & Politics, Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Puertos Revisado

  1. 1. ADVERTISING FEATURE AIRPORTS 24th SEPTEMBER 2008 Kommer Damen knows the impor- tance of staying well positioned for the next breaking wave.The Chairman of Damen Shipyards Group is carrying on the legacy built by his father and uncle, who founded a single shipyard in the Netherlands in 1927.The group pulled ahead of its competition in 1969 by introduc- ing standardised designs to its ship manufacturing operations that guar- anteed well-proven vessels, very short delivery times and competitive prices.As the trade winds eventually turned, and the tide of inexpensive labour in Asia and other developing economies rose at an unprecedent- ed pace, the immense Dutch ship- building group faced a flooded mar- ketplace. The widespread distribution of government subsidies further swelled the market and created a perfect storm that tilted the playing field and left some European ship- yards scrambling to compete.That is where Mr Damen charted the fu- ture of his family’s namesake in the development of high-tech ships that can serve the very precise needs of military and the oil indus- try, while producing fast ferries, luxury yachts, and dredgers for a range of customers. “This technology is not easy to transfer to low-cost countries.You have to develop to be ahead,” says Mr Damen, alluding to the impor- tance of proprietary R&D.“As well as high-tech ships, we build simple cargo vessels, which are increasingly built in the Far East and Eastern Europe.” Despite its positioning as one of Europe’s major shipbuilding groups, which offers products and services in over 30 shipyards and related companies while passing its economies of scale along to cus- tomers, the Dutch group’s manage- ment has shown it can steer toward success and avoid sinking into slug- gishness. Mr Damen himself is acutely aware of the unenviable odds of cruising into the gargantuan wave of cheap, available labour in an increas- ingly globalised economy.“There is so much difference between labour costs here and those in developing countries that you cannot bridge this – ever,” he comments.This is why he is leading the group toward investments in training in order to face the current labour crisis, as well as more efficient technologies that address surging oil prices and envi- ronmental concerns. I From high-tech luxury and military ships to dredgers and cargo vessels, Damen hones its competitive edges with technology and training Shipshape Dutch team stays ahead with R&D PORTS& The world's seaports and ship- yards have been key to economic development for millennia,and since the invention of the airplane,airports have also become vital to spurring growth and spreading wealth in the cities and regions they serve. Seaborne trade around the world has grown tremendously since 2000, rising to a record level of 7.1 billion tons in 2005,according to theWorld Trade Organisation,while during the same period the number of interna- tional air passengers grew by 5 per cent annually, despite disruptions caused by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US and the SevereAcute Respiratory Syndrome epidemic in 2003. The tourism industry is among the most important in Europe, which is the home of the world's top two destination countries, France and Spain,and also had four other coun- tries in the top ten in 2006. Governments are aware that airports often give travellers their first im- pression of a country and city, and many have invested huge amounts of money to improve that first experi- ence, and increase efficiency at the same time, as the new terminals at Madrid's Barajas and London's Heathrow airports demonstrate. Just as airports have permitted people to travel more quickly and efficiently around the world, the containerisation of seaports and the setting up of regular container ship routes have revolutionised the sea shipping industry in the past several decades by cutting costs dramatically. Europe's shipping companies are among the world's most efficient and competitive, and are also, in aggre- gate,the world's biggest.Its shippers represented 41 per cent of the glob- al merchant fleet in 2006, accord- ing to the European Communities Shipowners' Associations annual report. With sea shipping gaining in im- portance year after year, the work of Europe's shipyards is also adding more to the local economy. Members of the Community of European ShipyardsAssociations to- gether represent about 20 per cent of world shipbuilding capacity.They directly employ more than 100,000 highly skilled workers,and indirect- ly generate at least three times as many in associated businesses. As the globalisation of the world's economy has increased, seaports, shipyards and airports have become ever more important. Our modern transportation infrastructure has changed the lives of literally billions of people,allowing tourists to reach previously unheard of destinations, putting fresh roses from Ecuador into Valentine's Day bouquets in New York and permitting the dis- tribution of low-priced merchan- dise from Asia's factories to house- holds around the world. Globalisation of the world’s economy has spurred greater air and sea traffic along with modern infrastructure development Investment in infrastructure New wave transit connections Inside the striking new Terminal 4 at Barajas airport in Madrid Kommer Damen, Chairman of Damen Shipyards Group Photo:Aena Distributed with The Daily Telegraph. AERO-PUERTOS 340 x548 mm.qxd 16.09.2008 16:34 Página 1
  2. 2. ADVERTISING FEATURE PORTS&AIRPORTS2 24th SEPTEMBER 2008 I NTN’s business has quadrupled in size by providing global transport solutions with local attention to detail Despite the exuberance displayed by Norwegian Transport Network (NTN) CEO Kjetil Abo as he courts new oppor- tunities for Norwegian Transport Network as far as China and India, he is adamant that a local fo- cus is the key to success on the motorways of the sea. “Instead of having the target for our company to centralise all our activities in one big hub,or one port, we are doing the oppo- site, we are working with the local industries through the local ports,” says Mr Abo, whose NTN group has quadrupled in size between 2004 and 2006. “By doing this, we avoid the trucking and the handling over the country. Our aim is always to find the most effective trans- port in and out of the country.” While NTN’s 49 sub- sidiaries and 500 employ- ees are spread across ten countries and more than 150,000 square metres of warehouse space,each has kept its local brands their close relationships with local port authorities. Beyond NTN’s pin- pointed approach emerges the buying power and time-tested expertise of the unified group of com- panies that bloomed out of a merger of five Norwegian companies during the nineties, the oldest of which was found- ed in 1842. Those effi- ciencies also allow NTN to decrease the footprint it leaves on the seas and the environment,and sharpen its competitive edge. Last year, NTN’s mo- mentum pushed it toward a partnership with Tschudi Shipping Company to cre- ateTschudi Lines North Sea, a short sea container line that is capitalising on grow- ing shipping opportunities between Norwegian ports, Rotterdam,and the United Kingdom. ‘We find the most effective transport’ Kjetil Abo, CEO of NTN I Diversification is the key to sustained success for the Italian maritime and terminal operators Known for its precise and speedy service, Genoa- based Finsea can speedily move cargo from its port space to all inland desti- nations. In fact, the Italian holding company hauls the most cargo of all Italy’s shipping agents. The enterprise’s ship- ping and logistics activi- ties span the maritime field, from tramp and lin- er shipping to custom bro- kerage, logistics and ter- minal services. The Genoa-based firm recently partnered to of- fer passenger and hotel services. Plus, there are plans to boost terminal space, largely to accom- modate increasing import cargo arriving from Asia. “We are doing a lot,” comments President Luigi Negri. “For example, last year we moved around 420,000 deals in our role as shipping agents. Every year we improve our busi- ness in Italy.” According to Negri,the company’s operations have improved steadily since port services were priva- tised in the early 1990s. “Our dream is to have our own trains and railroads,” he adds, “especially fol- lowing EC regulations that state the railway system here should be privatised.” Finsea: Italy’s logistics leaders Studies by climatologists at anAmericanuniversityhave, in the past,suggested that Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,joint capital of the Canary Islands along with Santa Cruz de Tenerife, has the world’s best climate.Averagetemperatures hover at a comfortable 25ºC during the summer months and fall no lower than 15ºC in winter, making this city of 400,000 inhabitants a popular destination for tourists. Las Palmas, however, is not only a city with a rich cultur- alsceneandabustlingtourism sector, which consistently at- tracts visitors who want to spend some well deserved leisure time enjoying its at- tractions.This city is a key lo- cation for intercontinental trade thanks to its position at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and America. Whilefiguresfortradein2008 arelookingpromising,thecity’s port authority hopes,through its ambitious development projects, to further reinforce Las Palmas’ role as centre of the four cardinal points. Connected to ports in 180 countries, Las Palmas has the innate international outlook of a city that understands its economicstabilitydependson far more than domestic de- velopments.That’swhythecity councilislookingtoAsiaasthe next big import-export part- ner. MayorofLasPalmasdeGran Canaria, Jerónimo Saavedra Acevedo,is aware of his city’s eastern aspirations:“I think it is very good that the port of Las Palmas has, over the past few years, been developing a policy of contacts, exchange and meetings of port opera- tors with Shanghai.” SomeCanaries-basedcom- paniesarealsosettingupAsian outfits to maintain this care- fully nurtured relationship. Their understanding not only of Asian markets’ interests in emerging African nature, but also of their own competitive advantages in this new eco- nomic situation, means that traders who benefit from the theirislands’strategicposition arenotrestingontheirlaurels. So far in 2008, the port of Las Palmas has seen increased traffic,confirming its interna- tional reputation.The amount of merchant ships passing through the port inApril 2008 was up almost 6 per cent on figures from the same month last year and total traffic through the port also enjoyed a 9 per cent increase. Fresh and frozen fish,general mer- chandise and container car- go all pass through Las Palmas, coming from countries both near and far to the island,sit- uated to the west of the Moroccan coast. Plans are also under way to develop the port.The Canary Islands Special Zone is being set up to complement the al- ready established free trade zone at Las Palmas port.The Canary Islands Economic and Fiscal Regime, applicable in these special trading areas, allows investors to enjoy favourable conditions on in- vestments,which include tax exemption and a reduction in stamp duty,and gain access to smoother investment processes. These economic benefits are not the only changes tak- ing place. Plans to implement a major urbanisation project intheLaIsletaisthmus,anarea of the port, are currently be- ing reintroduced after having come to a halt due to politi- cal issues in recent years. Now, fresh momentum is behind the project and a pub- lic tender will be announced, requesting the ideas of archi- tectsworldwideforsolvinglo- gistical challenges facing the port due to its limited space. The intention is that efficient planninganddevelopmentwill allow for an increase in the amount of container space, thus encouraging a further growthoftrafficandimproved efficiency. There is a general political consensus that a wholistic approach to urban development has to be taken too. In other words, as Mr Saavedra suggests,“You don’t have to only fix the posterior stretch of the isthmus, we al- sohavetorequesttendersfor thedevelopmentofeverything on the sea front.” Change and modernisation are on the way soon. Las Palmas does not, how- ever,only respond to changes in its own urban and logistical needs, as has already been shownthroughitsgrowingre- lations with emerging Asian economies. Recent discover- ies of oil and gas in neigh- bouring Mauritania,for exam- ple, have drawn the city’s at- tentiontothechangingnature ofitslocation.AspartofSpain and thereby a member of the EU, the Canary Islands have enjoyed greater development and prosperity than their NorthAfricanneighboursand have therefore been able to offergreaterefficiencyasahub forinternationaltrade.Thedis- covery of energy resources in NorthAfrica,at such a fragile time for global energy mar- kets, however, has made Las Palmas think twice about its current competitive edge. Mr Saavedra is aware of the effectthatdiscoveriesincoun- trieslikeMauritaniacouldhave on their economic develop- ment: “We have to forecast that in 20 or 30 years, the povertythatmostofthecoun- tries ofWestAfrica have now willlessenandtherewillbere- fineries, more consumerism, more traffic and even more commerce.” The mayor sees that Las PalmasandtheCanaryIslands in general will have to fight to maintain the current position as the favoured trading hub in North Africa.“This has to be aconcernforthemanagement of our ports in terms of our competition and making sure the great producer and seller ofthenextdecade–thatisAsia and in particular China – ori- entate themselves in this di- rection and don’t go to other continentalAfrican ports,” he remarks. It is also important that, in order to maintain its interna- tional reputation, Las Palmas must maintain its high quality standards and respect for the environment on the island. Potentialcontaminationofsea- wateraroundtheporthasma- jorimplicationsforLasPalmas andtheislandofGranCanaria. “Wehavedesalinatedwaterfor humanconsumption,”saysMr Saavedra.“If there were a boat near our desalination plants, whichproducednearly100,000 cubicmetresofwaterperday, andithadanaccidentthatpro- duced contamination in the water,it would create a secu- rityandsubsistenceproblem.” Plans to develop a new de- salination plant on the other side of the city will contribute to solving the potential prob- lem, but Las Palmas and the port authority is still aware of the potential risks of ineffi- ciencyandissteeringwellaway from this approach to devel- opment and safety. Trade ships are not the on- ly vessels that stop at Las Palmas port, which explains why the tourism sector is as concerned about infrastruc- ture development as those in- volved in the trade sector. Up untilApril 2008,year-to- date figures for cruise traffic showed an almost 28 per cent increase on 2007. More than €450 million (£356 million) generated by tourism each yearinLasPalmasmakesasig- nificantcontributiontothelo- cal economy, but Councillor forTourismAday Ruiz Santana wants to make sure that visi- tors continue to spend in his city.“Wehavespentmanyyears in the wilderness and tourism inLasPalmasdeGranCanarias hasdecreased;nowwearede- signing a new tourism strate- gy for the city which is agreed uponbyallpoliticalpartiesand institutions,” he comments. A strong focus on cultural activities, potential concerts during the Christmas period, and festival tourism should al- so encourage tour operators to allow their clients to ap- proach Las Palmas not as a stopover but rather as a place to spend quality time, enjoy- ingtheperfectclimateandthe quiet sense of change taking over the city. Halfway between Newcastle upon Tyne and the Equator, Las Palmas is a hotspot for tourism and intercontinental trade Rising trade traffic and an almost 28 per cent increase this year alone in cruise ships docking at Las Palmas have bolstered plans to develop and enhance the port. Perfect climate brings trade and tourism cruising into Las Palmas Jerónimo Saavedra Acevedo, Mayor of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Aday Ruiz Santana, Councillor for Tourism, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria AERO-PUERTOS 340 x548 mm.qxd 16.09.2008 16:33 Página 2
  3. 3. ADVERTISING FEATURE PORTS&AIRPORTS 324th SEPTEMBER 2008 The port of Melilla has al- ways held a strategic posi- tion – a vital link between EuropeandAfrica.Founded in1497,thehistoricenclave ontheNorth-Africancoast isoneofSpain’soldestcities. Asasupplypoint,Melilla long-served as a pillar of theSpanishEmpireinAfrica. For port PresidentArturo Esteban Albert, the goal is to build on that tradition. The port already offers competitivetaxandtariffin- centives,butthereareplans to further capitalise on growing container traffic through the Strait of Gibraltar. The new passenger ter- minal, Estación Marítima, willhelpboosttourism.Mr Albert hopes it will be a socialhubforthecity,com- plete with a convention centre and aquarium. He said ferry traffic has already increased and the numberofvisitorsgrewby 40 per cent last year.“We are at the gate of Europe and at the gate of Africa,” Albert says. “We are the step between East and West.” Trade traffic heads ‘strait’ for Melilla Arturo Esteban Albert, President of the Port of Melilla Along the Asia-Europe transportation corridor, Riga is emerging as an indis- pensable link in the chain of global commerce.Airports, motorways,and seaports are poised to substantially ben- efit from plans to overhaul its infrastructure.As the main manager of construction and development, the Riga City Council has unveiled strate- gic plans to develop the city’s main trade arteries. The Ministry ofTransport,head- ed byAinars Slesers,is work- ing to balance the liberalised economic environment with EU mandates to promote competitiveness and attract investments. Spearheaded by the Riga City Council, the Northern Transport Corridor will al- so offer fresh opportunities for economic growth in con- struction and transport lo- gistics. The 16-mile motor- way project is set to be the largest transportation infra- structure project in Riga over the last few decades. After work finishes in a decade’s time, the motor- way will integrate Riga Freeport into the Trans- European Transport Network, raising competi- tiveness on a global scale. The stretch of road will al- so divert sea and road traf- fic further away from the medieval cobblestone streets of Riga’s Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage Site. “Western Europe trades with big eastern markets and roads are one of the ele- ments in this trade,” explains Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis.“But cargo is be- ing brought by sea to our Latvian ports. For that rea- son, once we improve the capacity and turnover vol- ume, Riga will help boost trade in the whole EU, as well as in eastern markets like Russia.” Modernisation of ports in- frastructure at Riga Freeport is helping to achieve EU goals to create a “motorway of the sea.” In the past decade, annual turnover at Riga Freeport has doubled.Over the course of several years, the management shifted fo- cus from cargo loading to promoting greenfield devel- opment of factories and lo- gistics centres.The port han- dled 25.9 million tonnes in 2007 – the largest rate of turnover in the port’s nine centuries of operation. Riga Freeport is a leading partner in the Dangerous Goods in the Baltic Sea Region (DaGoB) initiative,a training programme designed to im- prove efficiency and safety in these vital waters. Latvia’s capital city is raising competitiveness with fresh investment in its road and seaport infrastructure Riga pumps new life into trade arteries Sparked by the low-cost airline revolution, Riga is already recog- nised as a reawakening cultural and tourism destination on the map of Europe.Thanks to Ryanair’s presence, London and Dublin remain the most popular routes, both representing around 15 per cent of total traf- fic destinations. In March, Latvian budget carrier airBaltic unveiled nine new routes con- necting Riga to more European destinations includingVenice and Nice. Accession to the EU in 2004 coupled with the signing of an open skies agreement enabled Latvia to operate an unlimited number of flights.“Our advan- tage lies not only in our geo- graphical location, but also in the change in aviation policy, which improved our competi- tiveness,” says Krisjanis Peters, Chairman of the Board of Riga International Airport.“We re- alise that Riga Airport is one of the key economic driving forces in the country, and I think that this synergy is what makes us as effective as we are.” Last year, Riga International Airport served more than three million passengers, increasing total passenger traffic by over 25 per cent – an impressive feat for a city of 747,000.As a result, Mr Peters and his team have im- plemented an expansion plan to meet growing demand and in- crease traffic in the coming decades.The goal is to enable the airport to handle a capacity of 20 million passengers every year. A state-run company, Riga International Airport seeks pri- vate capital and strategic part- ners to develop, operate and administer future expansions. In May, the airport’s management opened an international tender to realise the €150-200 million modernisation and development plan.After construction is com- plete by mid-decade, an entirely new airport will emerge inte- grating existing facilities into a new terminal. I Rising passenger numbers of 25% and plans for expansion call for astute management Development and modernisation at Riga International Airport Members of the board (from left): Dagnija Kalnina, Janis Balkens, Krisjanis Peters (chairman), Rota Murniece and Juris Kanels What is the development programme of Riga Freeport until 2010? The main point is to move port cargo activity from the city centre closer to the sea and free up more space for the development of businesses and cultural centres.We have signed an agreement to build a big modern container terminal near the sea and our biggest plan is to shift our coal terminal to Krievu Island, on the left-hand side of the Western Dvina River.At the moment it is very close to the centre of the city, creating a lot of pollution. What are you doing to improve competitiveness? Compared to other ports in Europe, Riga Freeport has more than 800 hectares of available land for greenfield investments either for business centres or logistics. We are close to the borders with Russia and Belarus so foreign companies are coming here and looking for opportunities.Taking into account the rapid development of Russian, Kazakh and Chinese ports, we are able to serve these markets. By eventually moving operations closer to the sea, costs will be cheaper. Furthermore, we decided not to increase port payments, despite rising global inflation. We are trying to develop and meet the needs of our customers of our port and we are constantly improving our technical services and reconstructing all our facilities in order that it will fully meet top standards.That is the reason why Riga Freeport is more competitive. How are you financing these new port infrastructure projects? After joining the EU in 2004, we have access to European Regional Development funds.We started preparing projects two years ago, and now we are in the progress of technical design with government approval. The European Cohesion Fund can fund approximately €120 million of costs and we are also working with the European Development Bank, which already finances existing projects.The new container terminal will be developed by private financing. How are you prioritising environmental protection? Riga Freeport is unique because we are surrounded by nature protection areas. So we are coordinating our investment decisions with environmental groups in Latvia. Because all terminals at Riga Freeport are private, we choose the best available technologies to decrease costs in the future. We accepted ISO 14001 guidelines to become environmentally friendly and as a result, our railway and car parks became cheaper because we chose the best technologies. I Andris Argalis, Vice Mayor of Riga, outlines the competitive advantages of the city’s port and its plans to maximise its convenient location ‘Riga Freeport has over 800 hectares for greenfield investment’ Andris Argalis, Vice Mayor of Riga AERO-PUERTOS 340 x548 mm.qxd 16.09.2008 16:34 Página 3
  4. 4. ADVERTISING FEATURE PORTS&AIRPORTS4 24th SEPTEMBER 2008 Aena (Spanish Airports and Air Navigation) is a purely state- owned company with no private in- vestors and no private-sector in- put.It is also the largest airport op- erator in the world, with respon- sibility for 47 airports worldwide, including all 26 of Spain’s as well as further installations in Mexico, the USA, Bolivia, Cuba, Colombia, Sweden and the UK. Although a state-run company – with all installations the property of the Spanish state –Aena is man- aged as a private company and fund- ing is completely separated from state budgets.No government sub- sidies exist and there are no fi- nancial contributions whatsoever from the state coffers.For this rea- son,it is imperative that a business model centred on customer satis- faction is adhered to,as all ofAena’s revenues are generated directly from the airlines that use the com- pany’s airports,and the passengers that use those airlines. “Airports are the entrance to a country,” states Javier Marin,Aena’s Director.“It is the first thing which any person who comes to visit a country sees and it showcases the country’s capabilities, its engi- neering, architecture, technology and construction.This of course has to be compatible with efficiency and cost, because the people pay- ing for the existing infrastructure over the years are the airline com- panies and the passengers” In Aena’s case, the fine balance between expansion and overreach has been tempered by a world record growth rate at Madrid Barajas Airport – 14 per cent in 2007, which represents a total in passenger numbers of 52,143,275. Barcelona’s El PratAirport record- ed a growth rate of over 9 per cent for the same period, with 32,800,570 passengers passing through its gates. The two main Spanish airports account for 40 per cent of all air traffic in Spain, which last year peaked at 210.4 million passengers,another record. These figures have been made possible via a 6.2 billion euro ex- pansion at Madrid Barajas, which furnished the airport with its new Terminal 4 – the largest building in Europe in terms of floor space – and a major expansion at El Prat, with another new terminal due to be inaugurated in 2009.While the onus falls on the two largest air- ports in Spain to take the bulk of passenger arrivals, the increasing flight frequency of low-cost carri- ers and a sweeping array of desti- nations have made further invest- ments at regional airports a priority for Mr Marin. “Investment tends to be peri- odical in line with the needs of each airport. Over the last few years the main projects have been Madrid and Barcelona,but we have also continued to invest in other airports according to the growth they have experienced and in line with projected future demand. Without doubt the largest proj- ects, Madrid and Barcelona, are important not only in Spain but al- so at a European and world level. However,we have also invested in Alicante where we are building a new terminal at an estimated cost of 450 million euros and another one in Malaga plus a new runway; a 1.1 billion euro project. In the Canaries we have embarked upon an investment plan in which three billion euros will be invested over the next 15 years. We have also built new terminals in Menorca and recently opened a new ter- minal in Zaragoza in preparation for the Expo. We also inaugurat- ed a large extension of one of the terminals inValencia for the recent Americas Cup.” These expansions represent an investment not only forAena’s long- term profitability, but also at a na- tional level as the necessary sup- port structure for a booming tourist industry which accounts for 11 per cent of Spain’s GDP, with 75 per cent of all tourists ar- riving by air. However, by the year 2010, at current levels of compar- ative growth,Spain is predicted to overtake the UK as the largest re- cipient of air traffic in Europe (cur- rently,only Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport has more take-offs and landings annually than Madrid Barajas) and additional infrastruc- ture is therefore required to match the increase in demand. With this in mind, Mr Marin has been aware of the need to remain flexible in Aena’s approach to fu- ture business models.With air traf- fic to Spain expected to continue to rise and tourist numbers like- wise, it seems that the time has come forAena to seek private sec- tor partnerships and investment to keep pace; the winds of change are blowing. The Spanish government had al- ready recognised the need to make some very important changes in the company;at a cabinet meeting held on August 2, it approved plans to sell a 30 per cent stake in Aena’s airport operations to private in- vestors whilst retaining full own- ership of the air traffic control functions. The new model envis- aged also allows regional govern- ments to participate in the man- agement of the country’s top air- ports; Madrid and Barcelona. “It is logical that the government should analyse the alternative man- agement models of a company that is so important for this country.The current model has worked suc- cessfully for 15 years, but natural- ly the government has been look- ing at how best to cope with grow- ing demand over the next 15 years. I think that a new model whereby the Spanish autonomous commu- nities as well as local governments and the private sector can enter the airport management side of the business makes sense. Details about the model chosen and how the company is to be reshaped yet need to be revealed but, in any case,Aena’s good financial results must be taken into account.The air- ports in Spain have over 120,000 people working for them,therefore the model in question should also contemplate making changes at a certain speed and with sufficient sensitivity, in order to make the transition without detrimentally altering such a strategic sector as this one.” Whatever changes may lay ahead for Aena, Mr Marin is clear as to the priorities of the company and its responsibility to Spain, its in- terests abroad and,more than any- thing, the passengers who rely on Aena to provide safe and efficient services. “The main objective of Aena is not to gain profit, but to offer an air transport service,without put- ting any limits on the potential of air transport and without costing the taxpayer a single euro. There is no state budget applicable to Aena – the infrastructure is de- rived from the payments that the airlines make for the use of the fa- cilities.We try to find an equal bal- ance between the quality of the infrastructure and low prices.First and foremost,our services must be attractive to those who have to pay for them.” The national airports service provider, Aena, has overseen record passenger numbers and massive airports expansion Javier Marin, Director of Aena, believes that quality service should always supersede profit margins. ‘We try to find an equal balance between quality and low prices’ I The skies are rapidly catching up with congested roads as an area of environmental concern – a predicament Aena is keen to combat As people’s awareness of the environmental impact of increased air traffic is piqued by non-profit or- ganisations and the media, airlines and air transport service providers face a challenge to balance the necessity for reparative measures with the bot- tom line and the sway of public opinion. At Aena, the issue is one of par- ticular concern, and one that Javier Marin has tak- en a personal interest in mitigating. “In Spain we have dis- incentive measures, in- cluding penalising the use of older,noisier craft with taxes that are paid to the larger airports – encour- aging airline companies to change their craft.We are introducing wind power at some airports. We have an airport in the Canary Islands where the majority of the energy used is generated by wind.” Whereas the onus for environmental controls at specific airlines falls un- der the remit of the EU, resulting in initiatives such as carbon offsetting, Aena is compelled by its own government to implement expiatory procedures. “In Barajas (the district of Madrid from which the airport takes it name) 100 million euros have been invested in soundproof- ing homes. In a few days time we will be opening a recuperation centre for wildlife in which we have invested over seven mil- lion euros.We are giving this centre to the com- munity of Madrid to com- pensate for the environ- mental impact on the lo- cal fauna.All of these en- vironmental requirements are followed up by those who oversee them, such as the Ministry for the Environment.There is no doubt that air transport generates an environ- mental impact and our challenge is to minimise that impact.” The environmental balancing act Madrid Barajas’s T4, a 6.2 billion euro expansion AERO-PUERTOS 340 x548 mm.qxd 16.09.2008 16:50 Página 4