Britain and Spain study joint use of the airport, claims Spanish report

Joe Garcia

In the wake of the so-called 'informal' talks held in Madrid last week between Britain and Spain, it now appears that hardline elements in the Spanish Government are suggesting that bilateral conta

ct has been established to find a way out to the Gibraltar issue, including a plan for the joint use of the airport which would impinge on sovereignty.

The plan would be for one of the airport's terminals to be located on the Spanish side of the frontier, which the Spaniards consider to be Spanish territory.

An inspired report in 'El Español' then goes on to say that Spain does not recognise British sovereignty over the isthmus where the airfield is sited, but the fact is that the airfield and its installations are de facto under Gibraltar's control - and they want an end to this.


But it adds that expanding the terminal to Spanish land, or building a second terminal there, would be a possible solution. In such a solution, Spain would have control of the airport without having to recognise the isthmus as British. The controversial 1987 airport deal, which Gibraltar rejected at the time, was based on that concept.

In last week's meeting, Spanish sources say that there was a positive outlook towards finding solutions within the Brexit negotiations, where Spain has a veto. The sources indicate that the 'Gibraltar authorities' did not take part in Thursday's technical talks, as is known.


A year ago, the Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis revealed in a parliamentary answer part of Spain's objectives over the airport.

Such objectives would guarantee the full integration of the Gibraltar airport in the Spanish airport system, in a joint use deal, which would operate once joint sovereignty was achieved - something which is unacceptable to Gibraltar. The Spanish, apart from joint sovereignty, want Gibraltar to have a fiscal regime compatible with the EU, the removal of the frontier and an end to what they see as environmental conflicts.

A deal over the airport is seen as a first step towards agreements in other issues that Spain wants.

After last week's 'informal' technical talks, a Gibraltar Government source suggested to PANORAMA that it was not concerned by anything arising from the meeting.

Sr Dastis said recently that sovereignty was not a question that they would raise in the Brexit negotiations, yet the reports now surfacing in Spain indicate the opposite.

Questions were being asked in Gibraltar last night if the case was that the Spanish delegation at the talks wanted a soft Brexit but that there are other sources in the Spanish foreign ministry who take a tougher line, pushing practical considerations for a possible airport agreement into the realms of sovereignty concessions.