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Title: Michael O’Leary, Chairman of Ryanair, has been talking about his airline’s threat to reduce their presence at El Altet airport in Alicante.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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He has confirmed that they airline is studying ‘significantly reducing’ operations at El Altet if the Spanish Airport Authority, AENA, conti...


He has confirmed that they airline is studying ‘significantly reducing’ operations at El Altet if the Spanish Airport Authority, AENA, continues in its demand that the budget airline use the passenger airbridges, and be charged for doing so, although he said that they would not be leaving completely.
O’Leary said the obligation is unjust and discriminatory, and considered that AENA is abusing its dominant position in imposing the use of the ‘unnecessary’ airbridges.

The Ryanair boss also mentioned a similar situation in Girona, although in that case it is, according to O’Leary, the Catalan Government has not respected its agreements with the company.
O’Leary then went on to attack airport policy in Spain, describing the construction of the new terminal in Alicante as ‘unnecessary’, along with investments in El Prat in Barcelona. In his opinion these airports are making charges only to satisfy regional politicians. He said AENA was ‘wasting thousands of millions of Euros constructing marble palaces’.

O’Leary also hit out at the fines which had been imposed on his airline by diverse bodies in Spain, such as consumer groups and regional governments which amount to a million of Euros, describing the fines as illegal. He claimed that fines cannot be imposed without informing Ryanair of the allegations made against it, as it did not give the airline chance to defend itself. He mentioned a fine from a consumers’ agency on the Baleares, which when investigated did not originate with a complaint from a user, describing the situation as ‘clearly ridiculous’.

He also said he thought that privatisation would not reduce airport tariffs in Spain, describing AENA’s monopoly is bad for consumers and competition, and warned that the airport taxes could make travelling to and from Spain unattractive.

He suggested Spain followed the same strategy designed by the British competition authorities which had broken the monopoly of the airport operator BAA, owned by Spanish company Ferrovial, by forcing it to sell Gatwick, Stansted and one of its Scottish airports separately.

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