Ryanair exits Girona as extension deal collapses

Ryanair has cancelled its five year extension agreement at Barcelona Girona Airport, which was originally announced in December 2010, claiming that the new Government of Catalonia has refused to honour its agreement with the airline.

In December 2010, an agreement was reached between the two parties on a five-year extension of Ryanair’s base operation at Girona under which the carrier agreed to base 11 aircraft at the airport, operate 64 routes and deliver 4 million passengers a year which would sustain up to 4,000 jobs in and around Girona Airport.

As a result of the deal falling through, Ryanair will, from the end of February, reduce its Girona operations by five aircraft, close 18 of 64 routes and reduce frequencies on 17 other routes, with the loss of over 100 weekly flights. This action, says Ryanair, will see its Girona traffic fall from 4 million to 2.3 million each year with the probable loss of up to 1,700 local jobs (hotel industry and tourism support jobs). Ryanair will switch the five aircraft to airports elsewhere in Europe.

Speaking in Barcelona, Ryanair’s Michael Cawley commented, “Ryanair sincerely regrets that the new Government of Catalonia has failed to honour the recent five year extension of our base agreement at Girona Airport despite the fact that it was consulted on its detail by the outgoing Government. Sadly this will lead to significant traffic and job losses at Girona.

“It is a remarkable achievement by the new government to have caused such job and tourism losses within weeks of taking office,” added Cawley. “However, while this is a significant loss for Girona, Ryanair will continue to grow at other lower cost airports in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.”

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