The Cabildo of Lanzarote has decided to assume the cost of the Belgian University students until they can return in stages to their country of origin. This was after Saturday morning when they were refused carriage on their Ryanair return flight due to causing trouble at check in. They were put in a hotel on Saturday evening and last night they were resettled in the sports stadium of Titerroy.
The Cabildo is trying to minimize the negative impact to the tourism image of Lanzarote that this may have caused. The riot took place involving 100 students from Belgian universities. Ryanair refused their carriage after an altercation at check in which prevented them from travelling which was caused after they refused to pay for their overweight baggage.
The decision contrasts with that taken yesterday by the Belgian consulate in the Canary Islands who had only agreed to coordinate the return of their compatriots in the next two days. The Belgian consul, Robert Havet, who yesterday arrived in Lanzarote from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, made it clear to students that they should pay the return ticket and the consulate was not willing to pay for their stay on the island until they could fill a position plane to return home.
The return of about 60 students who still remain on the island cannot be carried out in full until tomorrow (Tuesday) at least. Today there are about 40 vacancies for Dusseldorf (Germany) and from there will have to find other connections to Brussels. For Tuesday are another 40 seats to Frankfurt (Germany) and only 5 to Brussels. On Thursday there will be another direct flight to Brussels.
In all the cases though, the students will have to carry the cost of the flight, though the Consulate is also negotiating with Ryanair that they do not charge for excess baggage.
The Tourism Board decided on Saturday to pay the hotel for students for the night amid fears that a group of more than 60 people would be on the streets since Lanzarote airport closes its doors at one in the morning. Earlier, the Red Cross had distributed blankets.
Ryanair has made it a condition to transfer them if the groups were not higher than 15 young people per flight to avoid any incidents on board their aircraft.
Late last night they were transferred to the sports stadium Titerroy in Arrecife, after the City Council approve this initiative. The strength of Civil Protection of Arrecife San Bartolomé, Tias Yaiza and proceeded to transfer and the Red Cross provided blankets.
The Belgian consulate paid last night for dinner at the airport (a snack and water) and first thing Monday they will move to the terminal. The National Police last night ordered a special surveillance in the area.
Puerto del Carmen, it has been reported, had a lot of problems with them including the group of students smashing in the apartments where they stayed and visits from the local police from Tías late at night due to the noise.