Ryanair said yesterday it would start flights between Castellon airport in Spain and Britain in September, in the first regular commercial flights to operate from the “ghost” airport since it opened in 2011.
Castellon airport, on the eastern Mediterranean coast 70km north of Valencia, was built at a cost of €150m during the country’s building bonanza which ended in a 2008 crash and a bailout of its banking system.
The airport was the pet project of local People’s Party politician, Carlos Fabra, now serving time in jail for tax fraud, and became a symbol of how Spain’s regional governments rashly spent billions on grand projects in the boom years.
Ryanair will start selling the flights on its website tomorrow, the airline said in a statement, with capacity to bring 60,000 passengers per year to Castellon on five flights per week from London Stanstead and Bristol.
Castellon is the 24th airport in Spain to carry Ryanair flights. The airline last year handled nearly 32m passengers in Spain, more than any other, official data shows.
The carrier, with one of the lowest cost structures amongst European airlines, has the ability to drive growth to smaller airports as it did with Bergamo airport outside Milan in Italy, said analyst Mark Simpson of brokers Goodbody.
“There are a lot of airports in Europe who want to talk to Ryanair because they see them as an anchor tenant who can help stimulate the market,’ he said.
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