Expats happy as Ryanair reopens its route to the Dordogne
British residents in the Dordogne region of France were celebrating a victory yesterday after the cut-price airline Ryanair agreed to reinstate flights to the small town of Bergerac.
Ryanair provoked outrage last week among expatriates and Britons with holiday homes in the popular region – known by many as "Dordogneshire" – by scrapping the route, one of a number of services it took over when it bought Buzz.
Ryanair has bowed to pressure to resume services and will start flying once a day from Stansted airport to Bergerac from 1 May. The single fare will start at £29.99.
An estimated 100,000 Britons live in the region or visit holiday homes there regularly. "By flying to Bergerac with bigger aircraft and slashed fares we can make it a very profitable route," a Ryanair spokesman said. "I am sure this will make Dordogneshire very happy."
There were reports that Ryanair had demanded a €2m (£1.4m) "contribution" to its marketing budget from local authorities in the Bergerac area to continue operating the route. Ryanair refused to give details of the deal it had reached with the airport but a spokesman said: "We have got a cost base at Bergerac that we can cope with."
Ryanair also announced that it was starting up a new route to Rodez in the south of France close to the Pyrenees with one-way flights starting at £39.99.
Bunty Cox, 54, a long-time resident of Bergerac who co-ordinated local opposition, said she was opening the champagne. "This is a victory for everybody – for passengers, for Ryanair and the region. Bergerac is a little gem of a service. It is 90 per cent full and I am sure it will be a fabulous route commercially for Ryanair," she said.
There has been no reprieve for other axed Buzz destinations in France, including Caen, Dijon, Chambéry and Brest.
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