CLERMONT-FERRAND, France (Thomson Financial) – Ryanair Holdings aims to reopen a route between the town of Clermont Ferrand in France and London, said Rene Souchon, president of the Auvergne regional council.
‘Negotiations are going on with a view to Ryanair being able to reopen a thrice-weekly flight between Clermont and London from April 1 2008’, Souchon said.
‘We have a draft agreement, but there are still many things to negotiate’, Souchon said, adding Ryanair did not give a timetable as it wanted to ‘test the number of potential customers’. The route would operate between April and October.
Ryanair had a daily route between Clermont Ferrand and London Stansted between May 2003 and Jan 2004, which was used by 45,000 passengers. The route was opened as Ryanair received construction and commercial aid to do so when former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing was president of the regional council.
‘At the time, the aid was not supervised as it is today. I am not going to give a blank cheque to Ryanair,’ Souchon said.
He said the reopening of the route would increase passenger traffic at the Auvergne airport, which had dropped to 552,000 in 2006 from 1.1 mln passengers in 2002 and would attract British tourists to the region.
Ryanair, which left Saint-Etienne in June 2006 for Grenoble, is present in Limoges and Rodez. ‘There is a big gap between Limoges-Rodez and Grenoble; that gives it a not-inconsiderable potential,’ said the Auvergne council president.
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