|Stunning but very quiet El Altet airport terminal|
Aena, the airport operator have announced that footfall at El Altet (Alicante) airport fell by a staggering 120,000 passengers, a 13% decrease over the same period last year. The two main contributing factors are the collapse of Spanair and cancellations by Ryanair. During February a total of 455,827 passengers passed through El Altet, representing a decrease of 12.9%.
Ryanair are still currently in dispute with Aena over the compulsory use of airbridges and are waiting the outcome of an appeal at the High Court. Chief Executive Mr O'Leary is contesting the earlier ruling back in November in Aena's favor, that they have to use and pay for the use of the telscopic gangways due to safety reasons. Up until now Ryanair passengers have been able to walk on to and walk off all its aircraft and climb a stairway into and out of the terminal building - a policy he claims minimises turnaround times! All I can say is that you have to be fit as there are a lot of stairs at the new terminal and its no fun when its raining. I have stood on the stairway waiting to enter the plane in the rain, whilst passengers are trying to decide which seat to choose and take forever to place their belongings into the overhead lockers- you end up sitting in damp or even worse wet clothes for 2 hours. Mr O'Leary said of the dispute "Alicante airport opened up a new terminal building which was not needed and to pay for it, Aena expects efficient airlines such as Ryanair to now use the same inefficient and high cost airbridges to pay for this". He has been quoted as saying that he will substantially reduce flights in and out of Alicante if the ruling goes against the low cost carrier - somewhat of a masked threat to the court! He has pulled some routes already such as Bournmouth, Doncaster Sheffield & Humberside but this could be a seasonal timetable and reduced the frequency on others resulting in a 26.4% drop in flights - but has said that if the ruling goes with him that he will re-instate them.
|A quiet Levante beach ....|
Hoteliers and the tourism department in Benidorm are trying to attract new holiday makers from Poland but unfortunately it is Ryanair that fly from the 2 major cities there - Wroslaw and Krakow. If Ryanir do not win the ruling then this will all be futile and Benidorm will suffer as a consequence. Lets hope "St Michael" wins the case ... not the M&S one I mean!
With regard to international flights, the Brits stand head and shoulders above all other nationalities with 187, 608 passengers flocking here followed by Germans (25,312), Dutch (25,110) and Norwegians (23,674). The busiest airlines were Ryanair, Easyjet, Monarch, Air Berlin and Transvia Norweguian.