Ryanair faces fresh Charleroi fiasco
31 March 2004
BRUSSELS – Cut-price airline Ryanair on Wednesday faced the possibility of having to cancel more flights out of Charleroi airport in southern Belgium, this time because of a local court ruling.
On Tuesday the court in Charleroi ruled that flights out of the city’s airport should be banned between 10pm and 7am. If the airport does not respect the ruling, it risks a fine of EUR 10,000 for every aircraft that makes an illegal night flight.
The court made its decision following complaints from local residents.
If the ruling were respected, Ryanair would have to cancel six flights a day that leave Charleroi between 6am and 7am and return between 10pm and 11pm.
The flights in question link Charleroi with London, Rome and Venice.
Two of those flights were doomed anyway because Ryanair has already said it will end its Charleroi-London link in April.
But analysts say the possible loss of the other connections could lead Ryanair to pull out of Charleroi altogether.
Charleroi airport currently employs 700 people directly and a further 3,000 local jobs depend on it. Ryanair is by far its biggest customer.
On Tuesday the company appeared to be adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach to the news.
“Nothing will change for our passengers in the immediate future,” Ryanair spokesman David Gering was quoted as saying in La Libre Belgique newspaper.
“But we are waiting for the airport to react to this decision, suggest alternatives to us and then we’ll see,” he added.
Local politicians on Wednesday rushed to find a solution to the problem.
Parliamentarians from the French-speaking socialist party (PS) and the centre-right Mouvement Reformateur (MR) put an emergency proposal to the Walloon parliament that, if adopted, would allow flights at Charleroi between 06.30am and 11pm.
Analysts say Parliament is likely to approve the plan.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news