While the plan to privatise Spanish airports is going ahead, the Secretary of State for Development, Rafael Arias-Salgado, said yesterday that only 49 per cent of the airport network will be sold to amulti-national, which means that 51 per cent will remain in the hands of the state. The Secretary of State explained that the main reason for the privatisation of 49 per cent of the country's 42 airports, and the 14 which AENA manages in Latin America, is to separate air traffic control from airport management in order to improve levels of management of the network, which is the second largest in the world and handles 130 million passengers per year, by bringing in a private company. Arias-Salgado said yesterday that any other solution, such as setting up some 17 different airport authorities would just “fragment” the network which would in turn go against the general interests of all parties concerned.