Thursday, September 08, 2005

Presence at Gibraltar Terminal is Spain's bottom line, says Bossano

Airport agreement

Joe Bossano - GSLP Chief and Leader of the Opposition PartiesLeader of the Opposition Joe Bossano has said that if there was an airport deal it would have to be because Spain had given up their demand for a presence in the terminal, and not because this had been met.

In an interview with La Linea radio Mr Bossano responded to previous remarks by Cadiz PSOE MP Salvador de la Encina, who was reportedly “very optimistic” that a joint use deal of Gibraltar airport would soon be finalised.

Meanwhile Mr Bossano said the reason why Spain wanted to clear aircraft from Spain was because clearance by Gibraltar authorities would be recognition that a Gibraltar - Spain flight was an international and not a domestic Spanish flight.

Sr De la Encina had also said there was a timetable for a political agreement to be signed before the end of 2005 followed early in 2006 by a technical agreement on how it would work on the ground. Flights between Spain and Gibraltar would commence shortly after that.

Mr Bossano said Jose Pons had made clear Spain’s bottom line was a Spanish presence in the local terminal and that Gibraltar could not expect Spanish help in agreeing an airport deal unless this condition was met. When asked about the reason behind this, Mr Bossano said this appeared to be because whereas in 1987 “Spain had wanted a terminal in La Linea, through which passengers would exit and be screened by them, they now wanted a single terminal in Gibraltar, which would house both the Spanish and Gibraltar authorities.”

A GSLP/Liberals spokesman said:

“The reason why Spain had insisted in 1987, and appeared to be insisting now, on aircraft from Spain being cleared by Spanish authorities, was because they did not accept clearance by local authorities on the grounds that that would be recognition that the flight was an international flight between Gibraltar and Spain and not a domestic Spanish flight from one part of Spain to another.

The interviewer replied that if the deal would only take place on Gibraltar’s terms then surely it would mean Spanish recognition of British sovereignty over the airport.

Mr Bossano said that even with the frontier closed and Franco in power there had been flights between Gibraltar and Madrid with no Spanish presence in Gibraltar and nobody suggested at the time that this was needed to avoid having to recognise British sovereignty over the isthmus.

Mr Bossano said he did not think that Mr Caruana was likely to accept the Spanish demands given that he was always saying the opposite in Gibraltar, namely that he would not agree to any form of Spanish presence in the Gibraltar terminal.

Presumably, if there was a deal it would have to be because Spain had given up their demands and not because it had been met.

Asked about the effect of increased air traffic, which Sr de la Encina had predicted, would grow from 120,000 to 1.2 million, Mr Bossano said that if there were 1.2m passengers descending on the airport there would be so many planes taking off and landing that the frontier with La Linea would be closed most of the time.”

The GSLP/Lib spokesman added:

"Further revelations by Rafael Estrella allege the new formula being discussed is to move our air terminal to the frontier fence, which would enable passengers to exit directly into Spanish territory.

This formula is based on a new terminal which would straddle the frontier, with the Spanish officials on the Spanish side, and would mean Spain abandoning its demand for a presence in Gibraltar. It effectively means a return to the 1987 two terminal solution except that the two terminals would be joined together.

Mr Estrella is quoted as saying that just like in 1987 when a similar agreement was reached, the airport would then pass under joint use with the British retaining control but with some elements of Spanish administration in the airport.

In other words the Spanish administration would be conducted from the Spanish side just like the 1987 agreement proposed.”


Related Articles:

07 September 2005 - No clash between talks and self-determination, says Caruana

06 September 2005 - Government tries to dispel speculation on possible Airport agreement

01 September 2005 - Bossano rejects Spanish participation in Gibraltar Airport

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