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London-Pau route secure says boss

CityJet to start flights to London City airport from April 1 says head of Pau CCI, as row with Ryanair deepens

FLIGHTS between London and Pau will continue, despite a growing row with Ryanair over airline subsidies.

The head of the chambre de commerce et d'industrie, which runs the airport at Pau, Patrick de Stampa confirmed that, from April 1, CityJet would be starting a route between the town and London City Airport.

The CCI has announced that it will not pay the increase in airline marketing fees demanded by Ryanair and said the decision to continue flying its routes from the airport now rested with the airline.

The CCI's announcement had raised fears of a repeat of the events of Angoulême Airport, which lost its services to the UK after authorities refused to pay the increased fees demanded by Ryanair.

Despite initial hopes of restarting the route, the airport was unable to find an airline to continue flights.

Mr Stampa said: "British people living near Pau and around the area will be able to go to London City, 30 minutes from the centre of London, with lots more facilities."

He said the ball was in Ryanair's court as to whether it wished to continue flying and that passenger numbers on flights were enough to sustain the route, but not the extra fees demanded by the airline.

Ryanair had asked for a rise in marketing payments from €1.44m to €1.5m, which the CCI general secretary, Christian Cloux, described as "intolerable" and "financial blackmail".

Mr Cloux said that the CCI "would not be paying a penny more" to Ryanair.

Ryanair flies from Pau to Brussels South Charleroi airport, London Stansted and Paris Beauvais.

The airport is also served by Air France/CityJet, flying to Paris Orly, Charles de Gaulle and Lyon and Flybe, which flies to Southampton.

Ryanair has accused the airport of wasting €1m on developing a route to Rome.

Airline spokesman Stephen McNamara said: "Ryanair is disappointed that the management of Pau has tried to attribute its poor financial performance to Ryanair. Ryanair’s Pau routes deliver 120,000 high-spending passengers annually to Pau Airport and the region, helping to create and sustain 1,200 local jobs."

Photo: Scot w 9

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