Further to our recent articles on the San Pablo golf course, promoted by Irish developer Robert Noonan (photo), we were sent the following article from VOX, ‘The Truly Independent Gibraltar Newspaper’.
Gibraltar’s controversial new multi-million airport, whose development was part of the tripartite Cordoba accords, may prove a substantially bigger white elephant than many already suspect, following the Government’s move against the property developers OEM International. In a tit-for-tat move which is likely to be seen as retaliatory, Irish millionaire developer Robert Noonan has reopened negotiations with Madrid to establish a new airport on the broad valley bottom between San Martin del Tesorillo and Jimena.
Noonan is said to have “washed his hands of Gibraltar” after the Caruana Government this week revoked the leases and licences granted to OEM for three affordable housing projects (see story on this page) and for the Buena Vista site on which Noonan and his associates planned to build luxury homes.
Already angered by what he regarded as Government pressures that led to the failure of his proposed FlyGibraltar airline, Noonan is bitter about the “ill-managed” way in which the OEM problem was handled, and at his treatment by Chief Minister Peter Caruana, VOX learned yesterday.
When Noonan was urged by the then Transport Minister Joe Holiday to start a Gibraltar-based airline he shelved his plans for a controversial airport to be built on the 240ha site near Jimena. It would have served the Campo as well as providing easy access to the multi-million Euro golf-course, hotel and time-share complex Noonan is developing to the north-east of Jimena and less than 15 minutes drive away.
A DISAPPOINTMENT TO IBERIA
Now Madrid’s enthusiasm for the project has been rekindled and the Spanish authorities are understood to be acquiring a further 140ha adjacent to the airport site on which to build a state of the art science and technology park. This would reduce Spain’s reliance on the planned new Gibraltar airport -already proving a disappointment to Iberia, which has reduced its initial daily service between Gibraltar and Madrid to twice-weekly flights.
Unconfirmed reports that the new airport is likely to be constructed by a Spanish company with links to Noonan’s former partner, local entrepreneur Daren McCoomb, have also encouraged the Irish developer to resume his plans for the Jimena site which would not only compete seriously with Gibraltar’s proposed airport but could make it commercially unattractive.
“If this happens, coupled with a probable easyJet withdrawal from services to the Rock, Gibraltarians could find themselves having to travel to Jimena for flights,” a source close to Noonan tolkd VOX yesterday.