The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a EUR 450 million loan to AENA (Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea) for upgrading and expanding Spain’s air traffic control (ATC) facilities in order to optimise their overall efficiency and ensure that they comply with international regulations (ICAO and EUROCONTROL). In the words of EIB Vice-President Carlos Da Silva Costa, "This loan is a further example of the Bank’s ongoing commitment to supporting the economic development of Spain, for which projects worth more than EUR 10 400 million have already been approved this year".

The investments will serve to improve AENA’s ATC equipment including the extension of the Valencia Air Traffic Control Centre’s facilities and upgrading of ATC systems, equipment and procedures using state-of-the-art technology. A major part of the project consists of the development of the latest version of the SACTA automatic air traffic control system, which has been in operation in Spain since 1994.

The project’s aim is to install latest generation equipment throughout the AENA-controlled Flight Information Regions, located in both mainland Spain and the Balearic and Canary Islands. It forms part of AENA’s “Spanish Air Navigation Investment Plan 2009-2012”.

The project will help to maintain air navigation in Europe at the highest levels of efficiency and safety. Spanish airspace forms part of the trans-European air traffic management network, one of the trans-European transport networks (TENs).

The EIB is the EU’s long-term financing institution promoting European objectives. Created in 1958, it operates in the 27 EU Member States and more than 130 countries worldwide. EIB financing operations are mounted in the framework of well defined EU policies. Trans-European transport networks (TENs) are a Community priority owing to their importance in fostering the EU’s economic and social integration, the free movement of people and goods and the development of the Union’s less advantaged regions.