Project runway

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Built for over €1 billion but abandoned three years after opening, Spain’s Ciudad Real airport now looks likely to become the property of a little-known consortium of Chinese investors.

Earlier this month Tzaneen International was the only bidder in an auction for the airport, which has been gathering dust near Ciudad Real, a city of 75,000 people about 200km south of Madrid.

Tzaneen bid just €10,000 ($10,989), but it says it has plans to invest €100 million more, reviving the white elephant as a shipment point for Chinese goods.

“The purchase of the airport is the first step towards creating a hub in the Ciudad Real area specialising in the transport, storage and distribution of cargo from various geographical zones, with special attention to the Chinese market, as a bridgehead for manufactured products as well as semi-manufactured goods which could be finished in Castilla La-Mancha,” it said in a statement.

Critics of the airport have scoffed that its original backers were as delusional as Don Quixote, the donkey-riding antihero of Miguel de Cervantes’s famous novel, after whom it was initially named.

But the Financial Times says it is not quite a done deal. The court that arranged the auction said the bid was significantly below the €40 million minimum and that it had extended the deadline to mid-September in the hope of getting better offers.

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