Ryanair plans to reduce its base at Girona Airport, removing five aircraft, closing 18 routes and reducing frequencies on a further 17 routes.
The airline cites the refusal of the new government of Catalonia to honor the five-year extension agreement it reached with the outgoing government in December for the move. The planned reduction equates to some 100 weekly flights. The five aircraft will be moved to “other airports elsewhere in Europe,” it said.
On Dec. 23 Ryanair and GRO management announced a new deal to expand the LCC’s presence at the airport, which would have seen it base up to 10 aircraft at the start of its summer 2011 schedule and open eight new routes, lifting its network to/from the airport to 64 routes.
“Ryanair sincerely regrets that the new government of Catalonia has failed to honor 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,” Ryanair CEO Michael Cawley commented, claiming that the capacity cuts will result “in the loss of 1.7 million passengers annually and 1,700 jobs to other airports elsewhere in Europe.”
Besides GRO, Ryanair operates two bases in the Barcelona region, at Reus and Barcelona El Prat. It opened the latter in September, raising speculation that it might result in the closure of GRO or REU (ATW Daily News, May 27, 2010).