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Costs may force Ryanair to pull Valencia flights

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Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary. Photo: PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary. Photo: PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary. Photo: PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images

Low-cost carrier Ryanair has threatened to cease operations at its Spanish base in Valencia, amid renewed claims that the regional government there has failed to provide equitable support to the airline, compared to other operators.

Ryanair said yesterday that it had given local government representatives a Friday deadline to respond to its query on its passenger growth plan for Valencia.

It claimed that the regional authorities had so far failed to respond to such calls and that it would review its operations at the city's airport if it did not receive a response within two days. Ryanair operates 22 routes from Valencia, including flights to Dublin.

The airline's deputy chief executive, Michael Cawley, described the regional government's failure to meet the carrier's representatives as "madness", alleging that it was risking the livelihoods of those working in tourism.

Other airlines using Valencia include Barcelona-based low-cost carrier Vueling and Easyjet.

Ryanair has previously sabre-rattled about Valencia. Last July, it made the same allegations. The authorities countered that Ryanair had never sought financial or other help. Ryanair announced at the time that it would cease operations at Valencia for six weeks from November, as it mothballs part of its fleet in a bid to save money.

Separately, Ryanair also said yesterday that it had given travel site Expedia 30 days' notice that its hotel contract with the airline would end. Expedia has been exclusively selling hotel accommodation on Ryanair's website since March last year, under a deal inked with Expedia's parent, Travelscape.

Ryanair alleges that Expedia has failed to honour contract terms in recent months despite "strenuous" efforts by the airline to resolve the difficulties.

Ryanair said it had already received expressions of interest from other operators interested in replacing Expedia after its contract is terminated on November 8.

The airline added that if Expedia remedied the alleged breach of contract soon, it would continue the partnership.

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