19 January 2005
BRUSSELS – Charleroi airport has been dealt another blow with the news that Ryanair is going to stop one of its daily flights to Italy.
The decision will mean a loss of 100,000 passengers every year for the airport, but will represent 75,000 less in 2005 as it will not be effected immediately.
It marks another downturn in the airport’s unhappy relationship with the low budget airline.
The European Commission last year ruled that Charleroi had given Ryanair illegal state subsidies and the airport now faces an additional hefty tax bill as it is set to receive millions of euros back from the low cost carrier.
Ryanair’s decision means one of the airline’s two daily flights between Charleroi and Italy’s Bergamo airport will be scrapped.
One daily flight between Bergamo and Frankfurt Hahn and one between Bergamo and London Stansted will also be stopped.
The head of Charleroi airport, Laurent Jossart, said the loss would not be catastrophic but added that he was not overjoyed by the decision.
The loss of 75, 000 passengers will push the annual number of passengers in the airport below two million.
This is good news for Ryanair as it means Charleroi will not be forced under EU law to charge Ryanair at least cost price for ground handling.
Last April, as a direct result of the Commission ruling, Ryanair stopped flights between Charleroi and London Stanstead.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news