Ryanair to launch new Brussels routes

RYANAIR has cemented its commitment to Brussels Charleroi Airport with plans to launch new routes from the city next year.

The airline, which has found itself in dispute with the EU over its existing deal with the airport, said it will base a fourth aircraft at Brussels and add five new European destinations.

The airline said the new routes will mean 250,000 additional passengers using the facility, bringing the total number of visitors going through the airport to 2.3 million.

“In 2001, Ryanair launched its first base in continental Europe at Brussels Charleroi and since then it has transformed Charleroi from an unknown, unused airfield into the fastest growing airport in Belgium,” Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said yesterday.

The 2001 deal with Charleroi fell foul of EU competition rules and the airline was forced to pay back some €4 million in subsidies it received from the Walloon regional authority that own the airport. Ryanair has appealed the ruling.

It also emerged last month that Belgian investigators wanted to interview two Ryanair executives, including commercial director Michael Cawley, about a local promotional company partly owned by the airline and the Walloon authority.

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