Malta route affected as Ryanair closes Valencia base
Incoming tourism from Valencia will be dealt a blow as Ryanair stops operating direct flights to Malta after its base in the Spanish city closed down.
More than 15,200 passengers flew to Malta on Ryanair's thrice-weekly flights from Valencia between January and September this year.
A spokesman for the Malta Tourism Authority said when contacted that it was in touch with Ryanair and was following the developments closely.
The low-cost airline said it took this decision following the refusal of Comunitat Valenciana to discuss the promotion of the airport and its routes across Ryanair's network in Europe. The airline opened this office in August last year.
The closure will lead to a loss of over 70 weekly Ryanair flights, 750,000 passengers every year and more than 750 jobs in the region.
Ryanair's investment of some $140 million will be moved to another base in its network. It said it had increased its passenger traffic by over 25 per cent this year to an expected annual outcome of 1.5 million passengers, of a total of six million at the airport.
The airline said the base represented the bulk of growth at Valencia Airport over the last two years and, since almost all the routes were from international destinations, had injected a massive tourism increase in the region.
It explained that since setting up the Valencia base, Ryanair had been seeking to cooperate with the tourism department of Comunitat Valenciana to promote the region across Europe. But recent requests for meetings had been turned down, it said. Ryanair's deputy chief executive Michael Cawley said the airline had already received numerous enquiries across Europe and will be announcing its new base elsewhere next week.
From its Valencia base, Ryanair operated flights to Bologna, East Midlands, Eindhoven, Liverpool, London (Stansted), Maastricht, Malta, Oporto, Paris Beauvais and Santiago de Compostela.
All booked flights have been cancelled as from November 4 and Ryanair is offering passengers a full refund.