Ryanair has reversed a decision to close its base at Pescara and announced plans for "record growth" in Italy after the Italian government revoked plans for an increase in tax of €2.50 per passenger.
Europe’s biggest carrier, Ryanair said it would add 10 new aircraft and 44 routes to its Italian network, targeting a 10% increase to 35 million passengers next year.
The airline announced the closure of its bases at Pescara on the Adriatic coast and Alghero in Sardinia in February, blaming the Italian government’s planned rise in municipal tax from €6.50 to €9 per passenger from September 1.
Services were due to cease at the end of October, with Ryanair saying the closures would cost 600 jobs.
However, chief executive Michael O’Leary revealed Ryanair would retain its base at Pescara earlier this month following a meeting with regional authorities in Pescara.
And yesterday Ryanair announced a "record growth plan for Italy", claiming it would invest €1 billion in the country.
O’Leary said: "All of this growth would have been lost to other EU countries if the municipal tax increase had not been reversed and airport guidelines not been redrafted.
"Those initiatives have allowed Pescara airport to reach a new growth agreement with Ryanair, which will reverse the previously announced closure."
O’Leary noted: "We remain in negotiations with Alghero airport and are hopeful of concluding a similar agreement with them."
Ryanair opened a base at Alghero in 2008 and at Pescara in 2009. The carrier operates from Stansted to Pescara but offers no UK flights to Alghero.
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