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Andorra news for Cynics. Where is Andorra airport?

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No news is not good news !!

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The annual archives have now been reproduced by popular demand. Note that they are in a "as they were" format so you can follow various stories such as the BPA scandal, or try the Andorra casino, and the headline spouting Andorra Airport, amongst a host of others.

In the beginning...well it was 2012!  Have a read of the old articles. It is interesting to see how things (mostly) have not developed at all!

2012 News Around Andorra archives "13th December 2012 Andorra goes smoke free"

2013 News Around Andorra archives "9th April 2013. Speeding fines, to pay or not to pay?"

2014 News Around Andorra archives "10 September 2014- Referendum, now Andorra is talking about it!"
Andora with two r`s?
2015 News Around Andorra archives "16th July 2015 - Never mind the Brexit or Grexit...."

2016 News Around Andorra archives "4th February 2016 - James Bond 007 is back starring the Andorra Head of Government, Antoni Marti in the final epic "The Andorra Referendum"

2017 News Around Andorra archives "22nd February 2017: Football: Andorra v San Marino, statistically the worlds worst teams meet in an epic decider."

2018 News Around Andorra archives "23rd January 2018 - Sexual malfunction crisis in Andorran delegation to EU."

There be devils at the gate
Devils who broadcast the seeds of hate
Devils setting brother against brother
Setting son against mother
Few or none are elected
Fewer still are respected
Your gullibility and mine
Provides codeine for their conscience
And a codpiece for their spine.

May 2019 - Andorra Airport back on the radar but not where you think it is!

Yes, the planners have placed a "viable" airport with a runway of 2.5kms up between Grau Roig and the Bordes d`Envalira. The minimum cost with the cheapest facilities is estimated at a mere 200 million euros.** Grau Roig airport would be a perfect location for Grau Roig, weather very much permitting which means in winter it would be better to drive up anyway. Perhaps the planners could include from the airport a 431kph Maglev (Magnetic Levitation)  train to Escaldes lake which would be good for Escaldes lake. I thought the elections were over ??

** Stop Press.... The cost for a viable airport is now (23rd June 2019- one week since the above article) estimated to be 750 million euros, are you serious ?? Andorra GDP for 2018 was 2.7 billion euros just to put things in perspective.

Photo showing the area for the Grau Roig Airport, construction has not yet started...

The new planned airport at Grau Roig Andorra

June 2019 - Anti-terrorism measures reach Andorra

On 7th December 1994 a large lorry had brake failure on the way down through Avenida Carlemany in the years before pedestrianisation. The lorry on its out of control career down the hill reached speeds of 90 km/h before hitting five cars and ending up in a restaurant. This cost the lives of 9 Spanish women, 38 people injured. and with enormous damage to the area. For this to happen again unintentionally is no longer possible as the area is now for pedestrians only and for outside bar and restaurant seating areas. On a serious note that this page is not accustomed to, it is very re-assuring to learn that there are currently four anti terrorist proposals to prevent the intentional unthinkable. The editor urges these to be implemented quickly and efficiently.

Present day Avenida Carlemany
Avenida Carlemany present day 2019

June 2019 - Another nail in the coffin for La Seu Airport

As if we need any more nails in the coffin at La Seu Airport the Spanish visiting minister last week extended the GPS approval decision for another 10 months. That has left the technical teams rather dumbfounded as there is no technical reason why approval cannot be stamped now.
Andorra Airport flight availability
The problem lies with the Spanish Civil Aviation authorities being a Government controlled organisation in Madrid. As has been reported here before, and please take time to read more history of this fairy tale, Madrid is not willing to allow a Catalan airport the luxury of opening to commercial traffic while the present independence attitude persists. Andorra which has also invested in the airport was politely reminded too that it is in fact Spanish sovereign soil and airspace. There have been attempts to start small services in the summer, but airlines are legally compelled by insurers and “interested parties” understandably to ensure maximum safety for their passengers. For those mostly chartered planes or air taxis who do not follow this 100% safety rule and operate a service that relies on being nice clear, sunny, windless days in the mountains does not of course work so well. The saga continues but the chances of this now being resolved in 2019 is a big fat zero.

June 2019 - To rent or not to rent, that is the question.

The crackdown on the renting out of unregistered apartments in Canillo continues. We reported in 2016 that a post had been created within the Comu to investigate illegal rental activities, tis has now been followed up by a “report your neighbour” website where you can make reports if you suspect any apartment is rented illegally. The illegality stems from legislation some years ago from pressure by the hotel association that they were losing business by private apartments offering holiday lets. There is now a strict registration and licensing procedure and private apartments can only be let through a registered operator. Categorically passive residents cannot rent their property if it is the one registered as their main address “not even for one night”. I know people do use Air BnB and other internet outlets BUT this is on the wrong side of the law and IF other Comús decide to follow Canillo in investigations it could cost a fine of up to 7,000 euros, together with a breach of residency consideration, so be warned. In Canillo 3 apartments have been denounced on this new website in the past couple of days, and in the past couple of years since the investigations started there have been quite a few fines dished out. It is estimated that of the 6,500 apartments in Canillo, two thirds of them are for rent and an estimated 6% are done so illegally.

And, yes the good old themes are still there....

Andorra Casino no winners yetThe history to the never opening Andorra Casino matches that of the Andorra Airport, no winners yet and both projects are still smoking. At least the Casino is not losing money....yet! An update on the shannanigans here coming soon!!!!

July 2019 - Andorra Roundabout Mayhem

The highway code for roundabouts in Andorra does not exist and that is a fact. Obviously, the Andorran highway code was written before roundabouts started springing up. Several years ago, a team of planners decided to put in roundabouts overnight designed to jam tourist coaches or impale an unwitting motorcyclist on sharp metal sculptures. They then added more degrees of difficulty by putting in pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and even concealing them around blind corners (Aldosa/Ordino road junction to name one). Each country has different rules for roundabouts. In Spain for example in a two lane roundabout you have priority in the outside lane at any time while on the roundabout, very different from most other countries, in Portugal it is an offence to pass an exit if you are in the outside lane and so on. With the explosion of cyclists emulating Tour de France and Vuelta routes another degree of difficulty is added. On roundabouts motorists already on the roundabout have right of way (except Greece) but must give way to cyclists on roundabouts in Austria, Germany, Denmark, France, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and the UK whereas In Belgium, Greece and Portugal motorists have right of way over cyclists, even if they are already on the roundabout, while in Italy right of way depends on signage.

I think the point here is just to be very careful and remember this rule for Andorra which most likely will be included soon in the Andorra Highway Code:

Approaching a roundabout continue in the lane you are in until you are on and then to get off get in or to the off lane unless you are staying on in which case get off the off lane to the in and off at the next….. unless you are a cyclist.

August 2019: Spain has a point, a speeding point.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that a foreign driving license should be subject to the same legal conditions as a Spanish license and be subject to suspension or revocation. Spain follows jurisprudence and therefore now that precedent will be followed. This arises unfortunately with a Spanish chap who had had his Spanish license revoked and was caught driving. He claimed the Andorran license which he had exchanged when he became resident allowed him to drive in Spain. The Court disagreed and awarded him a 64,800 euros fine. They also went on to say that there is no inherent reason why foreign licenses cannot be subject to partial points such as speeding. This may raise some concern for some residents here that are regularly caught in 90 km zones at 220 km/h and rightly so. However, the legal position has been made clear, but the practical enforcement has not. To log foreign driving licenses for speeding points and other moving offences by the authorities there would involve monumental computer and administrative changes which just may not be practical. Suffice to say though that in a serious offence where the Court is involved Spain has the right now to suspend or revoke your Andorran license. What I don´t understand is how could this resident have exchanged a Spanish license that had been withdrawn, unless there is no close relationship with the two Transport Departments as we are led to believe and that Spanish (and some other countries` licenses) are not sent back to the country of origin ? On that basis the Andorran resident can say he just lost his original Andorran license and get another?

A September visit from President Macron, our Co-Prince.

It has been announced that President Emmanuel Macron will visit Andorra for a day and a half on Friday 13th (!) and 14th September 2019. This will be the first visit by the French Co-Prince since Francois Holland in July 2014. It has not been made clear yet whether the order as last time for all businesses and Government offices to close to promote flag waving will be given but be aware that he may visit all seven Parishes, so there will be travel and traffic issues. It was also announced that this very strangely will somehow link with Andorra v France 2020 European Championship Qualifying, Group Stage match at the Stade de France on September 10th. Perhaps the returning victory parade may clash with the visit?
Andorra versus Macron victory parade
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