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Ryanair Suspends Flights to Strasbourg

In an interesting turn of events, Ryanair has suspended flights to Strasbourg after a court launched an investigation into Ryanair receiving 1.4m Euros from the local Bas-Rhin Chamber of Commerce.
I must admit that I’ve always seen something like this coming. Ryanair gets payments from a number of smaller regional airports around Europe in return for running flights to those locations. These can be billed as marketing payments, although most of the marketing I see is just lists of locations rather than anything too specific for a region.
There’s a European commission enquiry underway at the moment examining payments and benefits received by Ryanair for using Charleroi (or Brussels – Charleroi as Ryanair term it. It’s not exactly close to Brussels however) as a hub airport. There could be up to 17 other deals to inspect.
There’s an interesting piece in today’s Times about this practice as well.
I can’t see that in the long term, this sort of practice can continue. Surely it’s not that far off taking back handed bribes?
Ryanair themselves of course don’t quite frame it in the same way…