Ryanair pulls Fuerteventura services after legal dispute

Low-cost carrier Ryanair is axing all its routes to and from Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands following a spat with the local tourism authority AIE. This will result the closure of 23 weekly services on nine international routes to and from the airport from 31 January.Flights include Birmingham (3 per week), Bremen (2 per week), Dublin (2 per week), Dusseldorf (Weeze) (4 per week), East Midlands (3 per week), Frankfurt (2 per week), Liverpool (3 per week), London (3 per week) and Shannon (1 per week).

The Irish carrier is claiming a breach of agreement by AIE and has confirmed legal action. According to Spanish newspaper Canarias7, AIE could owe Ryanair €200,000 although neither parties have confirmed this.

Since Ryanair began flying to Fuerteventura in 2006 annual passenger numbers have increased over one hundred fold from just 2,000 to over 250,000.

Ryanair spokesman, Michael Cawley, said: “This is a very black day for Fuerteventura and one which will have a severe impact on tourism and the livelihoods of its islanders.  At a time when Spanish tourism numbers are falling Ryanair’s passenger traffic continues to grow as our fares continue to fall.  However, the AIE has now taken a huge gamble with the livelihoods of the local tourism industry by blatantly reneging on its contractual commitments and losing Ryanair’s 23 weekly services to the island.

He added: “Ryanair previously called on the AIE to comply with its contractual agreements and provided them with 30 days notice to remedy their contract breach, this notice period has now lapsed with no action having been taken to maintain Ryanair’s presence in Fuerteventura.  Therefore, we are faced with no choice but to end all Ryanair flights to Fuerteventura from 31st January”.