Ryanair has announced a 20% reduction in flights from its Dublin base this coming winter, citing a collapse in air traffic and high airport duties for the exodus.
The low-cost carrier is cutting the number of weekly flights to 1,000 from 1,200 last winter and the number of planes to 14 from 18. It estimates that its Dublin traffic this winter will decline by a further 250,000 passengers compared to last winter, and an overall losses of 2m passengers in 2009 Dublin Airport.
Ryanair says Dublin is one of Ryanair’s two most expensive base airports – the other being Stansted where is cutting capacity 40% this winter. It also says the Irish government’s €10 tourist tax makes Ireland an uncompetitive tourist destination at a time when other European Governments have scrapped their tourist taxes.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “The high and rising costs at Dublin Airport, combined with a €10 tourist tax, are devastating tourism here in Ireland. These cuts come just one-day after Ryanair announced 39 new routes to the Canaries this winter, where the Spanish Government has reduced airport fees to zero. Last week Ryanair announced 11 new routes to Oslo airports this winter where again airport fees have been substantially reduced.
“The response of the Government owned DAA monopoly to this 11% traffic collapse is to seek yet further price increases! The Irish Aviation Regulator has already proposed that Dublin airport charges for 2010 onwards will be ‘18% higher’ than they would be if the DAA’s traffic was not declining. Sadly the DAA gets rewarded by the regulator with price increases for its abject failure to grow and stimulate traffic.
“Ryanair again calls on the Irish Government to scrap this stupid €10 tourist tax before even further damage is done to Irish tourism this winter.”