Ryanair takes off from Barcelona airport

Ryanair begins operating 197 flights per week in 23 destinations from Barcelona-El Prat from today on. The company is decreasing its flights from the Girona and Reus airports but, in global terms, the number of Ryanair flights to and from Catalonia is rising from 326 to 412 flights per week.


September 1, 2010 10:49 PM

Barcelona (CNA).- Ryanair will begin operating today from Barcelona’s airport. The low cost airline will serve 23 destinations from Barcelona, with 197 flights per week. The Irish airline was only previously present in the Girona and Reus airports, but not in Catalonia’s capital airport. With this operation, the number of Ryanair flights from Girona will decrease by 36%, going from 293 to 187. However, Ryanair’s president, Michael O’Leary, has stated that “Catalonia wins with this operation, as Ryanair will go from 326 to 412 flights per week summing up all of the airports”. The Reus airport will also see its Ryanair flights decrease, from 33 to 28 per week. O’Leary has underlined that Ryanair is already the first airline in Spain in number of passengers, overtaking Iberia, as it increased by 32% in the first term. Ryanair will have 8 planes based in Barcelona-El Prat and foresee 2.5 million passengers per year.

O’Leary has said that Ryanair’s presence in Barcelona “represents a true opportunity for Barcelona and Catalonia” as it “means adding new competition to airlines such as Spanair, Vueling and Easyjet, which call themselves low cost airlines without offering low prices”. According to Ryanair’s president, the increase in number of passengers will revert the entire city’s economy.

He also criticised the Spanish Aviation Authority (AENA) policy when it comes to airport taxes for the Barcelona-El Prat Airport. Barcelona taxes are only a bit higher than Girona’s and for O’Leary, “this does not make any sense” as flying directly to Barcelona and using a top-class terminal such as the new T1 should have an extra cost. Otherwise, according to O’Leary, people will stop using the Girona airport.

O’Leary justified the reduction of Ryanair flights out of Girona and advised both Aena and the Catalan Government that the company “wants to continue to grow in all Catalan airports, put if taxes are not lowered, the Girona airport could loose between 5 to 10% of its long-term air traffic.”

430 million euro investment to land in Barcelona’s airport

The president of Ryanair stated, “we are the only airline growing to Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain within the context of our air traffic contract with the Barcelona Prat Airport.” However, O’Leary mentioned that offering a flight from Barcelona to Madrid is not yet “an attractive connection for the company”.

The person in charge of marketing and sales within the Spanish state, Luis Fernández-Mellado, said that the arrival of the airline to the Prat airport will generate “more than 2,500 places of work and create 400 direct jobs between pilots, flight attendants and engineers”.

With an investment of over 430 million euros, Ryanair will operate 400 flights a week from Barcelona. The main destinations will be Brussels (Charleroi), Malaga, Milan (Bergamo), Palma de Mallorca, Paris (Beauvais), Porto, Rome (Ciampino) and Seville, with flights 14 times a week as well as 15 other destinations.