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El Altet's November traffic falls by 12% as it fails to replace Ryanair traffic
16 December 2011 @ 02:20

RYANAIR ANNOUNCED on Tuesday a 50% summer 2012 cutback on its Alicante service, following  a 50% cut in Ryanair’s winter 2011/12 services.  El Altet will lose six base aircraft, 18 routes and traffic of an estimated 1.5 million passengers. 

During November, the first month of these cutbacks, Ryanair estimates that Alicante’s seat capacity has fallen 50% from its October figure, with traffic is down 12% on November 2010.

Ryanair blames the cuts directly on airport authority AENA’s air bridge policy that compelled no-frills Ryanair to pay some €2m p.a. in fees at Alicante instead of boarding directly from the ground as they do everywhere else in Europe.

At a press conference in Alicante, Ryanair dismissed AENA’s ‘false claims’ about the air bridge issue as follows:

“AENA have claimed that air bridge use is a ‘safety issue’.  This is untrue.  The majority of flights boarding at most Spanish and other EU airports operate without air bridges and with absolute safety.  Even very large airports such as London Stansted and Gatwick permit walk on/walk off boarding with no use of air bridges.  AENA has claimed that half of Alicante’s flights can board using walk on/walk off procedures, with the other half using air bridges, clearly disproving that the claim that the compulsory air bridge use is a ‘safety issue’. 

“AENA has claimed that Ryanair’s cutbacks were ‘planned anyway’.  Again this claim is untrue.  Ryanair’s route and traffic cuts at Alicante are the direct result of AENA’s decision to force Ryanair to use and pay for unnecessary air bridges. 


Ryanair has confirmed that if this compulsory air bridge use is withdrawn, then these Alicante flight, traffic and jobs cuts will be reversed.

Announcing 50% cuts for 2012 in Alicante, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said: “When Ryanair announced these cuts earlier this year AENA Alicante claimed that other airlines would step in and take up these flights.  The evidence of Alicante’s 12% traffic decline in November proves these claims were also false.

“Ryanair is the only airline capable of growing traffic rapidly at Alicante, and without us no one else seems willing to grow or use and pay for these unnecessary air bridges either.  AENA Alicante is now proving that inefficient air bridges and higher fees will result in the airport suffering route, traffic and job cuts.  We call yet again on AENA to reverse this abusive decision to force Ryanair and other airlines to use and pay for unnecessary air bridges at Alicante. 


In the meantime Ryanair and AENA are to face each other in the Spanish courts again in early February.  If Ryanair’s appeal is successful, the cuts at Alicante could be reversed in time for Summer 2012.

For now, Palma de Mallorca will benefit from the partial abandonment of operations at Alicante, as Ryanair opened a base in the Sont San Joan Airport, where the company does use the jet ways, with four of the planes removed from El Altet.

Source: Round Town News 16-12-2011

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