As part of Ryanairs’ plan to force the Generalitat to give it lots of money (same business plan as ETA, but with fewer iron bars and kneecaps, basically) it has continued its economic blackmail of Catalonia by pulling all of its flights to Reus airport.
Now, it turns out that Ryanair was the only airline flying from Reus which means the airport now has no commercial routes at all. Since 2005, Spain has spent over 80 million euros on Reus airport.
Couldn’t make it up, could you?
Ryanair had promised to bring 3 million passengers a year through the airport into the Costa Dorada, although last year it only bought in 1,2 million. All flights as from the 6th of November have been cancelled. Only private and government flights (a local flying school, the coastguard, etc) are currently using the airport.
88 workers have been given severence notice, and the airport warns a further 300 jobs in the area will also go. Thomas Cook also pulled out of Reus earlier this autumn in order to concentrate its flights on other airports.
Ryanair wants to renegotiate the 3,5 million euro a year contract it has with the airport, part of a larger 7,5 million euro contract overall with Catalonia which is now up for renegotiation. Basically, the Catalans give the airline money, and the airline flies in people. It’s a little commented on bit of blackmail by the airline – if a city wants tourists, they have to pay quite a bit to the airline. Granada fell foul of this last year, when they stopped paying the impuesto revolucionario and Ryanair stopped flying quite so much to them.
AENA, the airport operator, has hinted that it is negotiating with “a large Russian airline” (Whizzair?) to bring in the Ruskies to the Costa Dorada, which should be nice for them, although nothing official has been announced.
Ryanair also announced it is cutting flights to nearby Girona airport, as part of the “game of chess” – from 250 a week this period last year, to 174 this year. Out of the 24 destinations served by the airline, Ryanair flies to 23 of them.
In all, the previous Government of Catalonia had signed tourism agreements worth a total of 7,5 million euros a year with Ryanair to fly in four million tourists a year. However, the current administration changed the contract to scale with the number of passengers, which Ryanair didn’t like. The current administration is attempting to end the contract, and Ryanair is piling on the pressure – in fact, the administration has said that the “surplus money” from the contract will go towards attracting other airlines and tour operators, which caused the Girona announcement.
(via El Mundo)
Much the same thing as happened last week in Cuidad Real, a huge airport with one of Europes largest runways. A 500 million euro airport, with an estimated 316 million euro overdraft, which last week saw Vueling, the only operator at the airport, pull out. Mind boggling. (via El Pais)