Palma.—Europe's largest low cost airline Ryanair is locked in a battle with the Spanish authorities over allegedly irregular operating activities. However, Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary yesterday hit back by writing a letter to the Spanish Secretary of State for Transport at the Ministry for Public Works, Ana Maria Pastor, setting the record straight.

The letter was penned in response to reports that Spain will tighten regulations to improve the safety of air travel in the country and reinforce powers to punish airlines that infringe them, the Development Ministry said.

The government will require foreign companies that operate a high volume of flights in Spain to notify the authorities of incidents affecting air safety, the ministry said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Spain will also seek greater powers from the European Commission to supervise foreign companies with extensive operations in the country.
In addition, the government will establish a new procedure in airports for dealing with aircraft that suffer emergency fuel shortages, the ministry said.

The government said last month Spain's aviation safety agency was investigating three emergency landings by Ryanair planes at Valencia airport.
Ryanair said at the time it would cooperate fully with the investigation and that its aircraft landed with reserve fuel for least 30 minutes flying time, in full compliance with European Aviation Safety Agency requirements.

But, Ryanair, which is now the biggest carrier in Spain, gets the impression that certain newspapers are also being used by the Spanish government to “fan the flames” against them and keep the spotlight on the airline.