José Espartero, Ryanair’s sales and marketing manager for Spain and Portugal, announced in Palma today that a proposal has been made to the regional government and to Aena to bring 1.5 million more passengers per annum into the Balearics in exchange for “the lowest costs possible” during the low season. The request was formulated only last month and has, therefore, only recently been made.
The low charges being sought stem from the airline’s belief that “rates in summer and winter should not be the same”. Espartero, addressing “the problem of seasonality”, believes that there is potential for an increase in low-season tourism. “There is an opportunity to be able to utilise the airport (Palma) and bring more tourists in the low season,” he argues, noting that 87% of Palma’s traffic currently occurs between April and October.
“We see the possibility of increasing traffic and tourists in the low season but we understand that the costs would have to be lower. Because there is no activity in the low season, it will need to be fostered in order that there can be growth.”
Ryanair has as yet not received any response to its proposal, while Espartero has not identified how many of the additional 1.5 million passengers might be ones in the low season. The airline, fleshing out the proposal, calculates that this additional volume of traffic would correspond to an additional 500 million euros and 1,100 more jobs for the local economy. Asked if the airline has asked the Balearics for a specific amount of money, Espartero reiterated the fact the proposal is “to increase volume by incentivising and not penalising through costs that do not allow an increase in low-season volume”. He emphasised that costs had to be lower in low season “in order to incentivise an increase in volume”. He stressed that Ryanair does not look for subsidies but for “lower costs”, and as the airline waits to receive a reply, he concluded that “we’ll see what they have to say to us”.