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Ryanair wants to open five new bases, grow 40% in Spain

 Irish low-cost airline Ryanair (RYA.I), opens new tab wants to open five new bases in Spain and grow by 40% in the country by 2030, Eddie Wilson, the chief executive of the group’s largest airline, Ryanair DAC, said in Madrid on Monday.

He told reporters at a tourism event that the group aimed to grow passenger traffic to Spain to 77 million people from 55 million forecast for 2024, but Spain needed to have competitive airport charges for that to happen.

On Thursday, Transport Minister Oscar Puente said a 4.09% increase in tariffs by airport operator Aena (AENA.MC), opens new tab as of March was “inexorable” and that even then its rates would stay below pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

Wilson said Ryanair had decided to invest in Spain because there was certainty on no charge increases until 2026-2027.

“This 4% charge we think needs to be reversed, but also, we need to put in incentives in the regions of Spain, and that will drive tourist numbers 12 months in the year, not just to the beaches or the coast,” he added.

The group’s CEO Michael O’Leary met on Jan. 12 with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, promising an investment of 5 billion euros ($5.44 billion) in the Iberian country, one of the world’s most visited, over the next seven years.