Ryanair is cutting back services from Liverpool Airport this summer, blaming it on the rising government airport passenger duty (APD), and the slump in the pound.
Ten routes are being axed with the loss of 50 jobs among pilots, cabin crew and engineers. This will result in an 8% drop in traffic from Ryanair’s northwest hub, a 14% cut in weekly rotations, as well as a 14 perent cut in aircraft from 7 to 6.The low-cost carrier said it will announce further cuts to its winter schedule at Liverpool later.
Ryanair argues that Liverpool has been rendered uncompetitive due to the APD, and that its traffic continues to grow at airports where governments do not impose such taxes as demonstrated by its 11% traffic growth in January 2009.
Ryanair’s Michael Cawley said: “The combination of the high cost government APD and falls in Sterling has already created a traffic collapse at Liverpool Airport. The decision by the UK Government to continue to impose high APD charges and increase them over the next two years is completely unacceptable given the current economic climate.
“Ryanair has repeatedly called for this tax to be scrapped by highlighting that such travel taxes have failed in both the UK and Dutch markets, where they immediately resulted in traffic declines and sadly these declines look set to continue. This Government must realise you can only promote tourism by welcoming visitors, not taxing them.
“These cuts can and will be reversed if the Government’s greedy APD is scrapped - only then can we grow passenger traffic at Liverpool and throughout the UK.”
The routes being cut are Budapest, Faro, Friedrichshafen, Gdansk, Lodz, Paris, Salzburg, Santiago, Szczecin and Valencia.