15 April 2005
BRUSSELS – Irish low-cost airline Ryanair is to start a link from Belgium to Girona in the north-east of Spain, it was reported on Friday.
The Flemish daily newspaper Het Nieuwsblad revealed that a daily flight carrying 180 people could start in October to Catalonia from the small airport Ostende-Bruges.
Gino Vanspauwen, who manages the airport, confirmed that an initial deal had been struck and described it as welcome news for Ostende, which saw its passenger numbers fall by 26 percent last year, though 2003 was a record year when some 150,529 passengers were recorded at the airport.
Vanspauwen added that the deal could even encourage a second airline to lay on another flight to the destination.
The boards of directors of Ryanair and the airport still have to approve the outline agreement, which they probably won’t do before next month.
“I had hoped that we would be able to start by the summer, but that doesn’t seem possible for marketing reasons,” said Vanspauwen.
This surprise new business between the two parties comes despite the fact that the airport is still waiting for Ryanair to pay it EUR 250,000 in compensation for the Ostende-Stansted link, which was withdrawn in late 2003.
Vanspauwen told the news agency Belga that he was treating the cases on a separate basis.
The airport is also looking forward to Correndon starting flights to Antalya in Turkey, timetabled to start in June rather than in April as originally planned.
TUI is also to start charter flights to Tunisia. “Negotiations are also under way on the subject of a weekly flight to Egypt, but nothing is yet finalised,” added Vanspauwen.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news