August 24, 2017 / 12:05 PM / 3 years ago

Ryanair cuts air fares to Spain after attacks

FILE PHOTO: Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary poses following a news conference in Rome, Italy, June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi - /File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) - Ryanair has cut ticket prices for its flights to Spain to avoid any impact on demand from last week’s attacks in Catalonia, Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said on Thursday.

He said the airline, the largest carrier to Spain in terms of passengers, had “generally” not seen any impact on bookings to the country since Islamist militants killed 15 people last week in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils in Catalonia, northeastern Spain.

But Ryanair has reduced air fares to Spain by up to 7 percent, in a similar precautionary step to the one it took after attacks in London, Paris and Brussels, O’Leary said.

“We lowered the fares to keep people moving,” he told a news conference marking the opening of a new technical centre in Spain, which will create 250 jobs.

Spain’s Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Thursday he did not expect the attacks to have any significant short-term impact on tourism, which accounts for about 11 percent of Spain’s economy. [nE8N1HG00X]

O’Leary said Ryanair continued to be confident of growing in Spain despite heavy competition in some regions.

For the current year ending in March 2018, Ryanair has forecast growth in the country of around 10 percent to 38 million passengers.

Ryanair has a 17 percent share of the Spanish air transport market, according to Spanish airport operator Aena.

Reporting by Robert Hetz, Jesus Aguado, Sarah White; Writing by Adrian Croft; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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