This billion-dollar 'ghost' airport is a creepy symbol of Spain's economic crisis

Don Quixote was a foreboding name for this doomed airport in the Spanish province of Castille-La Mancha.

The €10-billion ($US108-billion) complex was completed in 2010, but was abandoned just two years later.

A group of Chinese-led investors has purchased the airport for just €10,000 — pocket change compared to the construction costs. They plan to turn the vacant terminal into a global freight hub.

146 miles south of the Spanish capital city of Madrid, lies the sleepy town of Ciudad Real.

The Spanish Government spent over a billion euros building a brand new airport near the city of 75,000 residents.

Flights first departed from La Mancha Airport in June 2010, but things quickly turned sour in southern Spain.

The last flight departed the airport just four months later in October 2010.

Since 2012, the terminal buildings, runways, car parks and other unfinished elements have sat abandoned in the Spanish sun.

Everything was built to high standards. The terminal buildings are capable of processing up to 10-million passengers a year…

…and the runway is one of the longest in Europe. Measuring 13,500 feet long, it's suitable the world's largest commercial airliners, including the Airbus A380.

High speed rail was supposed to connect the airport to Madrid, Sevilla and other towns on the AVE train network, but a walkway between the two, seen here, was never completed.

An investigation by the BBC suggests failure was in the cards all along, with investors benefiting from being awarded construction contracts.

Government officials hoped the investment would spur economic growth in the region. Unemployment rates in the Castille-La Mancha province hover as high as 28.5%, The Guardian reports.

After sitting in ruin for over three years, the airport was put up for auction. Initial asking price for the compound was €80-million, and was eventually offered to the highest bidder.

After an uneventful auction -- and a single bid -- a Chinese-led investment group wants to transform the airport into a global freight hub.

Tzaneen International purchased the airport for only $10,835 -- 100,000 times less than what the airport cost to build.

The company, set up in March, says it wants 'to make the airport the European point of entry for cargo.'

Let's hope they have better luck than the Spanish government.

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