It makes sense that Ryanair would take advantage of the distressed status of this airport and of the popularity of Valencia as a tourism destination, especially for UK travellers. The airport's promoters are no doubt relieved.
Ryanair has reached an agreement to bring one of the world’s most notorious ghost airports to life.
Castellón-Costa Azahar Airport in Valencia has been a topic of contention for many in Spain and even an embarrassment to some. It cost 150 million Euros to build and was inaugurated in 2011 without a single airline committed to fly to or from there. Until recently, Castellón has only hosted flights from Castellón’s general aviation flying club and charter flights carrying teams from the Spanish football league.
In 2012, part of the runway had to be demolished because of an error of measurements which prevented planes from properly making turns. The airport got more bad press when it was revealed, in 2013, that Castellón airport had no provisions to fuel planes as the proper fuel stations had not yet been built.
In 2014, efforts began to give Castellón an official operating certificate (something the airport also lacked) with test flights conducted by an AENA Beechcraft-350 proving the effectiveness of the airport’s flight control and radio communications systems. As late as this January, however, Spanish newspaper ABC reported that Castellón did not appear AENA’s destination map for Spain.
But now Ryanair is ready to take full advantage of the distressed airport’s location in the popular tourism destination of Valencia, with flights to and from London Stansted to Castellón starting this winter, with prices as low as £19.99.
“Ryanair is pleased to launch our biggest ever London Stansted winter 2015 schedule, with two new routes to Castellón and Ponta Delgada—110 in total—and more flights on 23 routes, which will deliver over 18 million customers p.a. and support 18,000 on site jobs at London Stansted Airport,” said Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs.
When discussing the expansion to this airport with CNN this morning, Jacobs also revealed that Ryanair is toying with the idea of launching a second-brand carrier. The yet unnamed airline brand would offer two service classes, and is targeted to attract passengers who want a more up-scale product option and who might be willing to pay slightly higher fares.
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Photo credit: El hombre avión--'The plane man'--statue at Castellón Airport. Sanbec / Wikimedia Commons