Ryanair Set to Cut Murcia Flights

July 29th, 2010

Budget airline Ryanair is set to slash 7 out of its 9 flights currently servicing San Javier Airport (Murcia). The controversial airline boss is furious at the region’s business inflexibility and its handing €3 million to the small regional airline Air Nostrum, which mainly operates domestic flights from Madrid. Ryanair sees the grant as throwing good money after bad. Air Nostrum’s traffic, despite the massive cash injection, has seen its traffic decline by 23% during the last year.

Ryanair points out that their airline carries 49% of all UK traffic to Murcia. It operates 76 San Javier flights bringing 120,000 tourists each week during the winter months when local businesses are desperately trying to stay afloat.


Ryanair believes the €3 million would be better spent promoting tourism to the Murcia region: Presumably by selling the region’s attractions and encouraging northern Europeans to visit Murcia rather than the more high profile destinations such as Malaga, Alicante, Valencia and Barcelona.

After several months of meetings the Murcia authorities have been unresponsive. Ryanair say the Murcia tourist authorities have failed to address their concerns; reply to discussions or agree on a compromise. The airline feels its only option is to switch its carriers to more responsive regions such as rival Alicante with which it has reached amicable agreement for more slots.

Their press release says: We are surprised that both the Concejal and Director General for Tourism are allowing the collapse of tourism in the Region of Murcia. Seemingly both have priorities, which in our opinion are much less important than the continuation of seven international airport routes.”


Local hoteliers were tight-lipped but downcast issuing a terse statement to the effect that they ‘lament the lack of sense being shown by the consejeria for tourism.’ The response from Spanish commentators has been typically Spanish flavoured.

Many thought the money would be better spent if channelled directly to struggling businesses and not to foreign concerns ‘who don’t need it and grow fat off our backs.’ A common theme was that ‘we should protect Spanish jobs and Murcian businesses: We don’t want English tourists who don’t spend money but stay with friends. We want Spanish tourists; they spend more money than do the English.’

This mindset would appear to define the difference between northern European and Spanish business ethos. The former believe business survival should be based on pragmatism and not ring fenced by government sponsorship. This they feel serves only to turn businesses into council run outposts guaranteed an income regardless of market realities or business acumen.

Unless there is a change in Spanish attitudes hard-headed investors will be attracted to Spain’s down-to-earth business-wise rivals and will take their business elsewhere. Ryanair has already done so. Others in related businesses will be drawing lessons from the Murcian tourist authority’s mulishness and abysmal lack of marketing nous. Ryanair might set yet another trend.

Story from Spanish News



  1. 29/07/10 20:13   David Williams

    This is just Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary doing his usual bashing of the local tourist board when they won’t pump more money into his coffers to enable him to offer those ridiculously cheap flights. It also helps him blame someone else for the hard headed business decicion to get out of Murcia. And why not get out? The market has bombed & has much further to fall. It was never much of a holiday destination – neither the sultry charms of Andalucia or the ease of the Costa Blanca. Those grotty unbanisations built on scrubland will stand for a few years before being demolished and like Almeria the resortsand developments that were talked up will be forgotten my most people. Think Skegness…

  2. 30/07/10 18:49   Stephen Thornley

    17.45 on Friday 30th July. Only just seen this, following a call from a friend in Spain.
    Less than one hour ago, Ryanair were more than happy to take my money for three return flights EMA to Murcia in September. There is no mention of all this on their website!

  3. 03/08/10 11:34   Neil Thom

    @David Williams – doesn’t sound like you’ve ever been to Murcia – I’m guessing you have no idea about the Mar Menor, Calblanque, Cabo de Palos and Cartagena city…..but then you’ve probably never been to Skegness either…….nice comedy post though ;)

    It is not just Ryanair , Air Berlin are also threatening the same action. The Murcian government was happy to welcome the foreigners when they were buying property and paying taxes…

    @Stephen Thornley, I believe the winter timetable would have started Oct or end of Oct so flights in September ok.

  4. 03/08/10 12:57   Jan Ryan (no relation)

    Ryanair is a very successful company and will continue to be so because it has the sense to make difficult decisions. We all applaud them when we fly at hugely discounted prices and this is only possible because they are tough at dealing with authorities.Also I often wonder if the people who complain have ever run a business of their own!

  5. 03/08/10 13:20   Gordon Brown

    I don’t know why Michael O’Leary is getting his knickers in a twist over this. We go to Murcia quite a bit with Ryanair and their planes are always full. I thought he was a business man? Get over it Michael and put your ego to one side for a change!

  6. 04/08/10 17:51   john.b

    yep,they have no mention of it on their site but try and search for a murcia flight from Prestwick after 1st november and there are no flights showing, which i will miss greatly and will reduce the amount of flights i book over this winter

  7. 05/08/10 00:07   Marilyn Ward

    I agree wholeheartedly with Mr Thom’s response to Mr. Williams remarks about Murcia. I spent many weeks over a period of 5 years visiting all parts of the Costa Blanca (where I have friends), Costa sel Sol, Alicante, et al and didn’t feel I’d arrived until I went to Murcia 3 years ago. I loved it so much, I bought a Polaris apartment which feels like a second home and have just paid a deposit on a plot of land in La Manga to build a permanent residence prior to moving full-time to this beautiful and unique part of the country. There is nowhere else in Spain that I have found that can equal this area. So get out and see the place properly before passing further comment, Mr. Williams.

  8. 07/08/10 08:57   C Davies

    I also agree wholeheartedly with Mr Thom’s response to Mr. Williams remarks about Murcia. This area of Spain offers unspoilt areas of natural beauty and Cartagena is a beautiful city of culture. The area is still a popular destination for the Spanish. At least Jet2 is still offering flights over winter from Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle to Murcia.

  9. 24/08/10 12:07   Anthony Rodwell

    Open your eyes Mr Williams if you ever REALLY go to Murcia!
    Take a look at the beautiful coastline around the bay from Puerto de Mazarron, discover tiny little untouched beaches as you stroll up and around the coast from Bol Nuevo, try some of the REAL Spanish food available…….I could go on and on!!!
    As for Ryanair, yes they can be annoying but we love those mega cheap flights and if you get it right and travel with hand luggage it really is possible to fly for 1p. I know because i’ve done it, had a return flight to Dublin for 2p, full stop , no charges, no taxes no nothing!!…….I normally use Easyjet and you can bet their prices will shoot up without the competition.
    So well done the local tourism chiefs, I expect your jobs are secure , it’s a shame about the lovely little local businesses that will probably go under.

  10. 26/09/10 19:33   Nigel Lambert

    As a regular traveller I have enjoyed very reasonable flight charges from Ryanair over the past few years and I find in this case, as in many others, the Spanish government have huge disregard for us Brits and it appears, not very good business sense. So although I (and my family) will lose out, I support Ryanair’s decision to cease flights! (But please try to resolve the matter soon)

  11. 18/10/10 00:50   Stephen Manderson

    It seems that there is an underlying issue between RyanAir and the Region. In business we at times make stances, only later to regret, even in the short term. That said, will we, the paying passangers forget this, or will we choose to fly with others to Alicante in the short term, and hope that some other carriers’ take up the RyanAir slots. There may also be some other issue re the forth coming opening of the new airport. Let’s hope they resolve this soon, or it’s going to be a long drive.

  12. 26/11/11 23:15   jayne

    We used this company to get to Murcia this year and really a nice flight and staff – what is the problem they are cheap flights and that is what a customer requires when you have a 10 day abroad holiday and dont talk so stupid put the flights back on – 9 out of 9.

  13. 11/09/12 13:38   Phil Neale

    There is a massive demand for flights to Murcia with Ryanair. My question is this. Why are Ryanair doing the dirty on such loyal customers? This is no way to run a business! No excuses can ever justify turning your back on people that need your services. This might be a price war and if they had anything at all about them then Ryanair would at least keep their loyal customers provided for. It isn’t our fault. Customers come first . If the prices have to go up? Then Ryanair should explain what the issues are to us, up front, show us some respect! They have had our money. At least then I and you can make our arrangements. For example I will go to my second home less often and for longer. Ryanair need to go on the ‘Investors in people course’ instead of walking away with what comes across as an invest in your own interests course. I am utterly disgusted with their apparent attitude. Our family runs a very successful pub in England. We have loyal customers who we treat with dignity and respect. Thats why they come back and that is why we are surviving in a very difficult market. If we did this to our customers then we would be another closed pub! So get real Ryanair. Your customers are Ryanair and don’t lecture me on how to run a business when the market is tough. Get those winter flights back on now please!

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