A “ghost airport” in Spain may have started to see flights, but they came at a heavy subsidy to budget airline Ryanair, according to media reports. However, the company that runs the airport and Ryanair both deny the payments are being made.

Couple tried to flag down the Ryanair flight they had missed.

Ireland’s Ryanair carrier. Image by Andrew Thomas / CC BY-SA 2.0

Castellon, a Spanish airport between Valencia and Barcelona that sat with empty runways for four years, saw its first commercial flights arrive earlier this year from the Irish airliner.

However, the Spanish news site El Confidencial has reported that those flights came at a cost of €600,000 per year.

The airport is run by a Canadian company, SNC-Lavalin, which is allegedly paying Ryanair to bring flights to the airport. However, The Telegraph reports that both companies have denied the claims.

According to The Local Spain news site, the empty airport had previously been held up as a symbol of reckless spending of public dollars as it sat empty.

It’s not the only case of a “ghost airport” in Spain. La Mancha airport in Ciudad Real opened in 2008 and was bankrupt and closed by 2012. It lay abandoned for years until Chinese investors put a bid of €10,000 on the airport, which cost €1 billion to build.

However, according to Euro Weekly News, a judge halted the sale to consider other offers. Ryanair was the first carrier to fly into that airport, but the routes were eventually pulled.