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Spanish 'ghost airport' that cost millions attracts single meager bid at bankruptcy auction

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MADRID — One of Spain's "ghost airports" — expensive projects that were virtually unused — received just one bid in a bankruptcy auction after costing some 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to build. The buyer's offer: 10,000 euros.

Ciudad Real's Central airport, about 235 kilometers (150 miles) south of Madrid, became a symbol of the country's wasteful spending during a construction boom that ended with the financial crisis of 2008, the year the airport opened. The operator of the airport went bankrupt in 2012 after it failed to draw enough traffic.

Chinese group Tzaneen International tabled the single bid in Friday's auction, Spanish news agency Europa Press said. The receiver had set a minimum price of 28 million euros. If no better bid is received by September, the sale will go through, the news agency said.

Tzaneen International reportedly plans to invest up to 100 million euros in the airport and make it a cargo hub. The offer is for the airport infrastructure only, not adjacent land.

Central has one of Europe's longest runways and was designed to handle 2.5 million passengers a year.

The construction was heavily funded by the Caja Castilla La Mancha savings bank — the first of Spain's troubled savings banks to be bailed out, in 2010.

Another largely unused airport and symbol of wasteful spending is Castellon, on Spain's eastern coast. It cost around 150 million euros and opened in 2011.

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