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Arrivals area at El Altet
 El Altet airport, which serves Benidorm is in free fall after airport operator Aena reported a loss of 440,000 terminal passengers in the period January to May - compared to last year.
Figures confirm that the economic crisis and deprogramming of Irish carrier Ryanair has resulted in a 12.5% drop - 10% more than Palma de Mallorca, 12% more than Tenerife and 8% more than Malaga.

Following Ryanair's dispute with Aena over the use of air bridges to disembark passengers at El Altet, the airline cut several routes as threatened. Barcelona, where the airline diverted much of its investment to the nearby airport of Girona by contrast is up 3%.

Over the first 5 months of this year, El Altet has had 3,079,406 passengers passing through its doors in comparison to 1.7 million at Manises (Valencia) which is a drop of 7% and 358,572 at San Javier (Murcia) but neither of these appear to be the alternative arrival airport as was suggested after Ryanair reduced its routes into El Altet. It has also had to contend with the Spanish carrier Spanair going out of business which served many internal Spanish airports.

The problem may be exacerbated more from this month as a 10% increase in airport charges comes into force for those flying into and out of Alicante airport - which constitutes a monetary increase of 1 euro per ticket. Increased connections to Russia and Scandanavia has not had the anticipated increase in passenger numbers yet - but with the Summer season starting officials are hopeful.

Less passengers flying into Alicante on Ryanair 
Tourist bosses are braced for the second half of the year when July, August and September are normally the busiest months with the highest influx of visitors - 80% of foreign tourists come to Spain by air. So far El Altet has dropped two places in its classification and has been overtaken by Aena Gran Canaria and Tenerife South.

Yesterday, the European Commissioner for Transport in Brussels claimed that airlines must improve the treatment of disabled passengers - regulations state that these travelers are allowed are allowed to carry two free pieces of mobility equipment which includes a wheelchair and guide dog. Lat year El Altet recorded 98,000 passengers with reduced mobility using its airport.