Ryanair Cuts Spanish Routes in Protest at Increased Charges

February 26th, 2013

Carrying out the threat they made in November last year, Irish airline, Ryanair, has announced that, in direct response to the increases in airport charges implemented by Aena both in 2012 and 2013, they are to reduce the number of flights they operate in Spain by 12%. In a press release, Ryanair warned that the measure will bring with it the loss of 5,400 jobs. The Irish company are to cease operating from the airports of Asturias and Bilbao, and will cut flights in all the other Spanish destinations in which they operate.

According to the airline run by Michael O’Leary, the biggest cutbacks will occur at the airports where AENA has imposed the highest increases: Madrid-Barajas; Barcelona-El Prat; Sevilla and Valladolid. The company claims that the route cancellations will result in the company transporting 5.4 million passengers less in 2013, to close the year at around 30.1 million passengers. According to the Ministry of Public Works, Ryanair is the airline which carried most passengers in Spain during 2011: 28.4 million, compared to the 17.9 million carried by the airline in second place, Iberia.

El Pais reported that, just like last November, the company, through its spokesman, Robin Kiely, reiterated that “these cuts in traffic and jobs could be reversible”, but only if the Government takes action “in a manner that makes it possible to stimulate the tourism sector and the creation of jobs”.

Aena sources responded to Ryanair stating that the legislation allows them to raise the rates to up to 5% above the GDP provided it serves to cover the costs. According to the airport operator, in 2013 the company will not deposit enough to cover even 75% of Aena’s costs. These same sources have pointed out that Spain has invested 10,000 million euros in airports in the last 10 years, and that the airport rates in Spain are still below the European average.

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