By: Natasha Smith
IN AN effort to encourage more passengers to use its service, Ryanair has altered the name of Faro airport as a destination on its website to Faro-Huelva.
Many believe that it is a clear attempt to bring the south of Spain closer to the airport in Faro and though the company has been promoting the proximity of the airport to Huelva, it is the first time Ryanair has made a direct link.
The airline transported 40.5 million passengers in 2006 to several destinations across the world and currently has 19 European bases. Of these passengers, 655,000 used routes in Portugal and an average of 11,000 passengers each month arrived in Faro.
Before the decision to change the name was made, three per cent of passengers flying with Ryanair to Faro airport stayed in Spain for their holiday.
The Irish airline has promoted other airports in Europe in the same way. In Düsseldorf, Germany, with the airport’s proximity to Holland, Ryanair promoted this fact in an attempt to attract both German and Dutch passengers. In Milan, Italy, the airline promoted the location of the airport to tempt Italian and Swiss passengers. There are no rules in place that restrict airlines altering destination airport names and Ryanair is not flouting any laws.
Some people and businesses in the Algarve believe that the new name is misleading as it suggests that Huelva is located in the Algarve.
With the development of resorts on the banks of the Guadiana River on the Portugal-Spain border and a great deal of property development in Huelva, many companies based in Spain have welcomed the change.
The Spanish border and Huelva are located less than an hour by car on the A22 from Faro and is closer for passengers than Seville airport. Hotel, rental companies, estate agents and property developers welcome the change because they believe it will improve their revenues.
The Resident spoke to Titan Properties, based in Huelva, which constructed a development called Mirador del Guadiana close to the Spanish-Portuguese border. Company directors Andrew Benitz and Gustav Rehnqvist said: “We think this is positive and we have a lot of good response from people travelling to Faro airport to vacation in Spain.” They added that: “It will help extend tourism and break down the psychological barrier for people coming to Spain though Faro airport.”
The Resident made several attempts to contact Ryanair’s head office in Ireland, but was unable to obtain an official comment on the name alteration of Faro airport.
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