Ryanair closes deal to operate out of infamous Castellón airport

Airline will be first to offer regular flights from the facility in Valencia Despite opening four years ago, the airport is yet to see passenger traffic

Castellón airport in Valencia province.
Castellón airport in Valencia province.ÀNGEL SÁNCHEZ

Ryanair has reached an agreement to begin operating out of Castellón’s infamous plane-less airport, sources close to the deal have revealed.

The Irish low-cost airline, which has called a press conference for later this week at the Castellón provincial headquarters, will thus become the first company to operate regular flights from the facility, which opened in March 2011.

Castellón provincial head Javier Moliner made reference to a deal with Ryanair on his Twitter account where, alongside a photo showing one of the company’s planes in the background, he wrote: “Three months of work – it’s worth leaving the [local Magdalena] festivities to close future deals for Castellón.”

Sources at provincial council headquarters told EFE that it and the airport’s Canadian manager Lavalin had spent almost nine months working to close deals with numerous airlines and tour companies to start operating out of the facility.

Until now, only private planes – the majority from the local flying club – and charter flights for Spanish soccer clubs have taken off from the installation.

Until now only private planes and charter flights for soccer clubs have taken off from the airport

Built by former provincial authority head Carlos Fabra, who is now in jail for tax fraud, the airport remained closed until 2014 and came to be viewed as a white elephant – a prime example of the wasteful public spending undertaken during Spain’s construction boom, which came to an abrupt end with the start of the economic crisis in 2008.

Although the project was due to be built by the private sector, the Valencia regional government ultimately had to pay out €120 million for construction work, plus an additional €50 million in compensation, cost overruns and external work.