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Ryanair says now it will focus on Girona airport if the Catalan Government pays up

Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary urges the Catalan Government to pay 11,5 million euros to the airline if it wants Girona’s airport to see all its Ryanair flights back from October onwards. O’Leary says that the Irish company cancelled 28% of its routes from Girona for the Spring/Summer season due to the “lack of commitment” from the new Catalan executive.

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08 March 2011 09:43 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Ryanair\u2019s CEO, Michael O\u2019Leary, has urged the Catalan Government to pay the 11,5 million euros agreed between the Irish airline and the former Catalan Executive a few months ago. In a press conference in Madrid, O\u2019Leary said that Ryanair\u2019s reception of this amount of money is the only way to recover growth in the aiport of Girona, in north Catalonia, in the heart of the tourist area of the Costa Brava. In times of severe public expenditure reduction, the Catalan Government asked Ryanair for some time to study how to plan the public financial help to Ryanair agreed by the former executive. The help is to ensure and foster Ryanair\u2019s presence in Girona, which aims at boosting Girona\u2019s airport between 2011 and 2016.


Ryanair cancelled 28% of its flights from Girona from May onwards. This will mean a reduction of 64 routes to 46, a decrease defined by the Catalan Government as a \u201Cserious threat\u201D to the future of Girona\u2019s airport. In fact, the Irish airline operates 90% of all flights in Girona, making the airport very dependant on it. The company even threatened the institutions with leaving only \u201C2 or 3 planes\u201D in Girona.

O\u2019Leary said on Tuesday that Ryanair\u2019s decision to reduce its presence in Girona was due to the \u201Clack of commitment\u201D from the new Catalan Government with the airline. However, the Catalan Executive said that they needed to review the pre-agreement reached between Ryanair and the former Government. They warned the airline that the Catalan Government would not \u201Cgive privileges to an Irish company\u201D that has already received many public subsidies in a moment of public expenditure cuts; in a moment when the Government is discussing also with \u201CCatalan companies about how to face the current difficult\u201D economical situation.

The pre-agreement reached between Ryanair and the former Government included the payment of 11,5 million euros in 5 years if the airline arrived to the target of transporting 4 million passengers per year. Only if this agreement is ratified with the payment of 11.5 million euros, O\u2019Leary thinks that the airport would recover its levels of growth. Girona\u2019s airport has been experiencing a sustainable growth in the last 9 years, and the Irish airline said it was \u201Cgood business\u201D. Ryanair\u2019s CEO said that the airline aims to continue operations in Girona\u2019s airport, but \u2013while the decision about the subsidies is still on stand-by- he stated that its expansion in Catalonia will only focus on the airports of Barcelona and Reus, avoiding Girona.

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  • Ryanair's President, Michael O'Leary, in Madrid (by MJ Fidalgo)

  • Ryanair's President, Michael O'Leary, in Madrid (by MJ Fidalgo)