“The expansion of El Prat is on hold for at least five years.” This is how the president of AENA, Maurici Lucena, said this Thursday, after the Government stopped the investment of 1.7 billion announced last August for the growth of infrastructure, which had raised the opposition of environmentalists and political parties such as the ‘commons’. The central executive and the Generalitat have continued to accuse each other.
As Lucena has indicated in statements to Catalunya Ràdio, the opportunity to now expand El Prat is “lost”, since it will not be included in AENA’s investment document for the next five years that will foreseeably be approved by the Council of Ministers at the end of September. . The operation to expand the airport’s third runway can only be resumed within five years, he added, when a new investment plan is drawn up.
“In the next five years, 1,500 million euros will be invested to consolidate the intercontinental hub in Madrid and the investment in El Prat is on hold until a new regulatory opportunity opens,” Lucena asserted. Regarding the motives of the opponents of the project, Lucena said that “from the beginning” it was known that the expansion had an environmental impact.
For their part, the Government and the Generalitat have continued to blame each other for the slowdown in the operation and since the announcement of this Wednesday by the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, both executives have not held any conversation to try to ensure that the project does not finally run aground. This is how Sánchez has advanced in statements to RAC-1, in which he has indicated that the 1,700 million planned to expand El Prat may not be allocated to other infrastructure projects such as Cercanías trains since they are committed investments for AENA and the airports.
However, Sánchez has committed to making the investment in high-speed trains to connect the airports of Girona and Reus with the Barcelona aerodrome, something that has also been corroborated by the vice president of the Generalitat and Minister of Territorial Policy, Jordi Puigneró.
In the political section, Sánchez has also denied discrepancies with the vice president and leader of United We Can in the Executive, Yolanda Díaz, who this Thursday will visit the Ricarda lagoon, an environmentally protected area affected by the expansion of the airport, to show her opposition to the draft. “Mrs. Díaz and I are equally concerned about the expansion being a future project that could be done with the least possible environmental impact,” Sánchez said.
The minister insisted that the “lukewarm and not sufficiently mature position” of the Generalitat has been the cause of the slowdown in investment, and has specified the tweets of the president, Pere Aragonès, ERC’s criticism of the project and the announcement that some Republican councilors could attend the demonstration against the expansion as the factors that have led to the freezing of the operation. “If there is not a firm position in defense of the project, it does not make sense,” he added.