Ryanair announced Friday its decision to shut its base at Valencia airport due to the regional government’s lack of financial support for the company’s expansion plans for the airport.
Describing it as a “black day for Valencia airport,” Michael Cawley, executive vice-president of Ryanair, explained that the Valencian government gave 12 million Euros in marketing support to local carrier and Ryanair competitor Air Nostrum whilst denying Ryanair financial support of 1 million Euros. Cawley complains that Valencia’s regional government refused to even discuss a financial contribution to Ryanair.
Ryanair established its regional hub at Valencia airport in August 2007 and increased traffic by more than 25% says the low-cost carrier. The company warns that closing the base at Valencia will mean a loss of 70 flights, 750,000 passengers a year, and 750 jobs.
As of November 4 Ryanair plans to cancel all flights from Valencia to Bologna, East Midland, Eindhoven, Liverpool, Maastricht, Malta, Oporto, Paris Beauvais and Santiago de Compostela, refunding in full any tickets already sold for these destinations. The carrier will continue to fly to Madrid, Dublin, Brussels, Milan, Rome, Pisa, Frankfurt y Stansted.
Despite the decision to close its Valencia base, Ryanair has left the door open for a return to Valencia should the regional government change its mind.
Ryanair’s decision will come as a blow to the local property market, already reeling from Spain’s property market slump.