Ryanair to stop Valencia flights

Budget airline Ryanair announced today it is shutting its base in Valencia, Spain, with the loss of 70 weekly flights following a row with the local council.

The Irish carrier flew from Valencia to 10 destinations including three in England - Stansted, East Midlands and Liverpool.

Flights on all 10 routes, which were used by 750,000 passengers a year, will be cancelled from 4 November, Ryanair said today. A total of 750 local jobs will be lost.

Ryanair blamed the decision on "the refusal of the Comunitat Valenciana to engage in constructive discussions in relation to the promotion of the airport and its routes across Ryanair's network in Europe".

The airline said its investment of more than $140m (about £85m) would be moved to another of its bases, with an announcement expected next week.

Ryanair, which announced its new Valencia base in August last year, said it had been seeking to cooperate with the tourism department of the Comunitat Valenciana with a view to promoting the region across Europe.

The airline said: "At the same time as the Comunitat Valenciana was telling Ryanair that no funds were available for such co-operative activity, they were granting a €12m (about £9.6m) award of marketing support to the local airline, Air Nostrum, who delivered neither growth nor international passengers to the region.

"Furthermore, the Comunitat Valenciana ignored Ryanair's request for engagement on these important promotional issues and indeed more recently turned down all reasonable requests for meetings."

Ryanair deputy chief executive Michael Cawley said: "This is a very black day for the airport of Valencia and the city and region which it serves.

"Without any assistance or cooperation from the local tourism board, Ryanair has already shown the possibilities which are uniquely available through its low fares."

He went on: "However, the naked subsidisation by the Comunitat Valenciana of competitor airlines at the expense of Ryanair and the refusal by the same party to engage in any meaningful discussion with Ryanair have meant that continuation of our base at the airport is untenable."

The other destinations to which Ryanair flew from Valencia were Bologna, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Malta, Oporto, Paris (Beauvais airport) and Santiago de Compostela in Spain.