Spanair, Vueling and Clickair cancel Granada flights as Ryanair stays – at a price
GRANADA is feeling the strain of Spain’s economic crisis and rising global fuel costs after three low-cost airlines announced plans to cancel flights from the city.
Spanair, Vueling and Clickair will all stop using the Aeropuerto de Federico Garcia Lorca Granada-Jaen from September.
The three budget airlines had a total of 12 weekly flights coming into the city.
But it is good news for British residents in the area after Ryanair announced it would not – as previously announced – be cancelling its London-Stanstead, East Midlands and Liverpool services.
This was after the Diputaciónes de Granada and Jaen provincial councils and the chamber of commerce for Granada agreed to pay greater subsidies so that the company would continue landing at the airport.
Ryanair will receive 1.5 million euros a year before the deal is reviewed in 2010.
“We are not victims of Ryanair’s blackmail,” said the leader of the Granada’s Diputación, Antonio Martínez Caler. “We were free to negotiate or not with the company. We recognised the business the flights bring to the area.”
National low-cost airlines that use the airport do not enjoy any of the financial aid given to Ryanair. In the face of the increasing cost of petrol – which have risen to 140 US dollars a barrel – and a drop in demand, Spanair has announced it will cancel its Granada-Madrid service later this year.
The company, which has also made 900 employees redundant, will ground a total of 15 aeroplanes from September after recording losses of 40 million euros in the first quarter of 2008.
As well as the Granada service, flights the company makes between the capital and Girona, San Sebastián, Oviedo and Munich in Germany will be stopped.
Gone also are services between Barcelona and Zurich, Bilbao and Málaga and Bilbao and Jerez.
The company maintains, however, it is still the low-cost market leader in Spain.
“I feel proud that in such a difficult climate, Spanair is able to make such cutbacks yet still keep its position as Spain’s number one budget airline,” company director Marcus Hedblom told the Olive Press.
“With increasing overheads and the state of the economy in Spain, there are airlines in a worse situation than us.”
Two of these airlines have joined forces to combat decreasing revenue. Clickair and Vueling have announced a merger that will see the new company completely depart Granada.
This will see the cancellation of flights to Rome, Paris and Barcelona.
Despite the losses, airport bosses remain in a bullish mood. “The loss of certain links should not be seen as a threat to Granada but an opportunity to attract other airline companies, which can come here and operate with very little competition,” said director Bienvenido Rico.