Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Spanish Airports Authority

Those who don't keep a sharp eye on the financial goings on in the world might be tempted to think that the impressively named British Airports Authority was a British institution with some degree of authority concerning airports.
Turns out that it is neither British nor has the foggiest idea about running airports.
In fact, BAA is run by a bunch of castanet clicking and guitar playing clowns whose favourite music is the ka-ching of cash registers in the shopping malls they own. When they have a spare minute, these shopping malls masquerade as rather unsatisfactory air terminals.
Why a government would allow a facility which acts as the virtual gateway to their nation to be handed over to a foreign company beggars belief.
Now there is no such thing as a good airport and some are worse than others, Nassau in The Bahamas springs to mind, and probably the last satisfied passengers were those who left on the last BOAC flying boat from Southampton Water. Since then it has been downhill all the way.
But if you're going to have a national disaster, surely you should be running it yourself and not abrogating the responsibility to a private contractor in another country?
Renaming it Spanish Airports Authority would be a start and painting the slogan “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” over the portals would alert happy holidaymakers to the sort of treatment they would be receiving within.
The tremendous upsurge in passengers is clearly a problem, but why an airport, which in theory is designed to get people on and off airplanes, should devote so much space to retail matters is a question that deserves an answer.
The temptation is obvious.
Here is a captive and very bored audience, just the sort that retailers love. And here is a chance for the airport operators to make a killing.
So let's stuff in more shops and to hell with the original idea of putting people on airplanes. Flying's for the birds.
And let's not miss out on any opportunity to squeeze the last drop out of the benighted traveller – after all, he's got no other option. As I came through the airport on my way home yesterday, I saw that, if I wanted to repackage my toothpaste, shampoo and nitro-glycerine in one of those handy-dandy plastic bags, they were on sale for 20p.
The Spanish company responsible for the major British (sic) airports is disinterested in investing much unless it is in a few more shopping outlets so I feel some sort of national retaliation is necessary.
Tesco should take over a few choice Spanish airports, starting with Madrid.
Now that would serve them right!


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