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easyJet pulls out of Madrid airport base on “high charges”

Low-cost airline says it will maintain majority of its flights to Barajas airport and relocate staff

Madrid -

The low-cost airline easyJet announced that it will eliminate its Madrid airport base in the coming winter because of falling profits. The company will continue to operate flights to Barajas but will no longer base its crew and eight aircraft there.

Profitability at the Madrid base is lower “due to a combination of overcapacity in the Spanish airline market, leading to low revenue per passenger, combined with high airport charges which have more than doubled in the last two years and will continue to rise above inflation in the coming years,” the British airline said in a statement.

AENA, the public airport manager, last month announced the possibility of new hikes in airport charges between 2013 and 2015, which by law cannot be more than five percentage points above inflation. Europe’s second-biggest low-cost airline explained that it will continue to operate flights in Spain but that these will be reduced by seven percent next year.

“Seventy percent of easyJet passengers who fly Spanish routes begin their trip from elsewhere in Europe, and demand from these passengers will remain just as strong,” the airline said. The aircraft will be transferred from Madrid to other European bases where easyJet operates and which offer the company greater profits.

easyJet said its 310 Madrid-based crewmembers. “will be offered jobs at other European bases.”

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