Ryanair, Europe’s largest low fares airline, today (23rd June 09) confirmed that it will freeze growth at its nine UK bases with immediate effect. Ryanair highlighted that Gordon Brown’s £10 tourist tax, combined with the BAA Monopoly’s high airport charges have caused the loss of over 4.5 million passengers at the BAA UK airports in the first five months of the year.
Ryanair called on Gordon Brown to scrap this £10 APD tax and speed up the sale of Gatwick and Stansted airports to prevent a further collapse in UK tourism and related jobs next winter. If the UK traffic collapse continues for the full year the UK economy will lose over 10 million passengers, 10,000 airport jobs and over £2.5billion in tourism spend in 2009 alone, with the Government losing at least £350 million in VAT receipts.
The UK is now a high cost tourism destination which is in steep decline. Ryanair urged the British Government to follow the lead of the Belgian, Dutch, Greek and Spanish Governments who have recently scrapped similar tourist taxes and/or airport charges in order to reverse falling passenger numbers and prevent further tourism and job losses.
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:
“Ryanair will grow by 15% this year to over 67 million passengers. However, the UK will not share in any of this growth in 2009 as Ryanair (the only major European airline continuing to grow) freezes growth at our nine UK bases. Gordon Brown’s £10 tourist tax will see Britain lose over 10 million passengers, 10,000 airport jobs and more than £2.5 billion in tourism spend in the UK this year alone. The Government should follow the example of their Belgian, Dutch, Greek and Spanish counterparts by immediately scrapping this stupid and regressive tourist tax to avoid any further devastation to British tourism and jobs.
“Tourism is one of the UK’s most important industries and employers. It responds quickly to price changes. The Government’s £10 tourist tax is making the UK an uncompetitive destination and they must scrap this tax now to prevent a further collapse of UK passenger, tourism and job numbers. While the UK keeps taxing tourists Ryanair will switch its growth to other EU countries where low cost airports are growing and where Governments are welcoming tourists not taxing them”.