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Angoulême airport sues Ryanair

The Syndicat Mixte des Aéroports de Charente is suing Ryanair for breach of contract

Angouleme airport directors are in talks to begin a new service to London after Ryanair stopped its Stansted flights.

The Syndicat Mixte des Aéroports de Charente is suing Ryanair for breach of contract after the airline demanded an extra €175,000 on top of a previous agreement. The president of the Charente conseil général Michel Boutant accused the airline of blackmail and refused to pay. Ryanair signed a three-year agreement in 2008 to provide flights between Angoulême and London Stansted but announced in February it was pulling out early after its demands for more money towards marketing costs were refused.

Angoulême route development officer Nicolas Nadeau said the airport was in talks with a Hungarian airline to launch a low-cost London Gatwick route in June or July, plus Marseille and Lyon. Contracts were being drawn up as The Connexion went to press and an announcement due within days – see our website for the latest.

Explaining its decision to pull out, Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said: “The commercial reality is that no airport is obliged to work with Ryanair and Ryanair is not obliged to work with any airport. Ryanair is an airline dedicated to reducing the cost of fares for passengers - not a charity set up for the greater good of airports,” he said.

Ryanair European communications manager Daniel de Carvalho added: “It would not have been commercially sensible for Ryanair to continue investing alone in the marketing of the now discontinued route.”

According to the airport the route was used by 29,000 people in 2009, of which 85% were British, 40% of whom were resident in France. It says planes were on average 85% full.

A petition to persuade both Ryanair and the authorities to review their decisions has been set up by John West, architect and managing director of the property search company Charente Gems.

“While we do not agree with Ryanair’s tactics neither are we happy with the way the Charente seemed to bang the door shut before proper negotiations took place.

“Other airports faced similar demands from Ryanair this year, all but Angoulême came to an agreement.”

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