14 January 2005
BRUSSELS – Judicial authorities have launched an investigation into passenger fees charged at Charleroi airport in southern Belgium by low-cost carrier Ryanair and airport operator BSCA.
The investigation surrounds a EUR 4 fee charged per passenger by Promocy, a company financed jointly by Ryanair and BSCA.
Authorities have questioned the legitimacy of such charges and allege an abuse of public money.
Laurent Jossart, head of BSCA, denies allegations of any wrongdoing.
“We have nothing to reproach ourselves for,” he told La Libre Belgique newspaper.
He said that both Promocy and BSCA have regularly submitted their accounts for review and verification of all transactions.
For his part, Walloon Transport Minister Andre Antoine said the whole case reflects an “eagerness” on the part of certain parts of the Belgian establishment to attack the airport and Wallonia in general.
He promised to write Ryanair to assure them of the region’s support.
In February the European Commission ruled that Wallonia was paying Ryanair what amounted to illegal subsidies to fly in and out of the airport.
Ryanair’s arch rival Virgin Express, which is based at Zaventem outside of Brussels, has warned that it will fight any attempts by Ryanair and the Wallonian authorities to circumvent the Commission ruling.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news