Expatica news

Ryanair eyes Ostend

29 July 2004

BRUSSELS – Low-cost airline Ryanair plans to re-start flights from Belgium’s Ostend airport, it was reported on Thursday.

Le Soir newspaper reported that the airport’s chief Gino Van Spauwen said he had reached agreement with the Irish company to start flying from the Flemish port city to Rome and Barcelona from the autumn. 

However, the deal still needs to get the go-ahead from Kris Peeters, the regional minister responsible for the airport.

Van Spauwen said around 20 extra workers would be hired at Ostend because of the arrival of the Irish airline.

No figures have been given about the number of flights that the company plans.

Ryanair used to fly out of Ostend but quit the airport in late 2003, blaming disappointing passenger numbers.

It is also unclear whether the Ostend plan will see Ryanair pulling out of Charleroi airport in French speaking Wallonia.

The European Commission has ordered Ryanair to repay millions of euros it received from the Wallonian authorities to develop its activities at Charleroi.

The Commission says the disputed payments amounted to illegal state aid.

But Ryanair disagrees and is trying to have the Commission’s decision overthrown by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Van Spauwen has asked lawyers to examine the Ryanair deal at Ostend to ensure it does not lead to another complaint from the Commission.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news