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Passenger Numbers at Girona Airport Fall 42 Percent

Tue 13th Sep 2011

Air traffic at Catalonia's Girona airport fell by 36'100 up until August of this year, and the decline is expected to slide further still as the suspension of many Ryanair routes takes it's toll.

Despite being the height of the busy tourist season, passenger traffic fell 42.1% for August alone when compared the same period for 2010. A total of 358,369 passengers used the airport, with 2'791 flights.

Traffic for the year as a whole has fallen by 36.3% to reach 2.2 Million, with the number of flights standing at just 20'441 - some 34.4% less than the same period last year.

The long term outlook for the airport looks particularly bleak following Ryanair's decision to cease 18 routes to and from the airport altogether, and to reduce the timetables of a further 17, following disagreements with the regional government over subsidies.

The problem larger stems from the incumbent Catalan government refusing to honor an agreement that was signed with their predecessors. However, the Catalans tried to resume negotiations earlier this year and resubmitted a new offer to Ryanair. The offer is beleived to be 7.5 million Euros for Ryanair to transport two million passengers to the airport each year. Ryanair pushed for 15 million Euros to deliver 3 Million passengers which was rejected, further cooling relations.

The Airport has tried frantically to forge agreements and new routes with othe airlines - notably Polish company Enter Ai, Serbia JAT Airways or Russian Transaero Airlines, but even when combined they have been able to provide nowhere remotely closely to the shortfall that Ryanair have left in their wake.

The sharp drop in traffic at Girona has led the Ministry of Public Works to consider the possibility of lowering rates further in order to boost air trafic, open new routes and be more competitive. Currently the rates are 30% cheaper than Barcelona's El Prat airport, and according to Minister José Blanco, "will be even cheaper."

Read how this year's growth at Barcelona's El Prat Airport has been at the expense of Girona and Reus airports, and influenced by Ryanair by clicking HERE .

The situation has even prompted Secretary of State for Transport, Isaiah Táboas, to allow AENA to consider creating a branch specifically to look at generating new business for the regional airport, and for them to have full autonomy in the same way as Barajas and El Prat have. However, the Minister warns not to expect growth to return to the number spreviously seen overnight.

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