Iñaki Zabala (Euskal Air)

Although I was surprised by María José Anitua’s request, given the time that has elapsed in relation to her professional work as a legal advisor to Euskal Air (1991 / 1992), I am pleased to be able to help her, given the justification for her request: the new challenge of public-private collaboration in the reuse of empty houses.

I was managing director when she joined the airline Euskal Air S.A., which operated under the trade name of Nort Jet. The company was founded at the beginning of 1989 at the instigation of the Provincial Council of Alava and the Chamber of Commerce of Alava, to operate regular flights from Vitoria Airport.

The capital was mainly Basque. Most of it belonged to three banks in this region. On 14 April 1992 it ceased operations after three years. The closure was due to the Basque government’s failure to provide the capital that was available and to the fact that the aircraft were not as profitable as expected. This experience was an important learning experience.

In the negotiations with the Basque Government, María José Anitua played an important role, holding several meetings with the then Deputy Minister of the Basque Government, Fernando Buesa, with whom she had previously worked. Although the negotiations did not produce the desired results, I would like to highlight María José’s perseverance, honesty, involvement and positive attitude in the search for viable solutions.

She worked as a team with me and the company’s CEO, Lázaro Ros, in a situation of extreme financial difficulty. A climate of deep trust was generated, to the point of offering her to become a part-owner, in order to avoid bankruptcy.

This trust has continued in other professional assignments in which her help and negotiating skills have been successfully concluded.

I recommend María José for her professional career and excellent management in this area of public-private collaboration, despite not achieving the desired objectives in the case of Euskal Air.

Iñaki Zabala

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