Ryanair is closing nine of its ten routes at Manchester Airport on 1 October and switch them to East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Liverpool.
The low-cost carrier says the shift will result in the loss of 44 weekly Manchester flights, 600,000 passengers annually and up to 600 local jobs.
Ryanair blames Manchester Airport for refusing to lower its charges to reflect the lower fares being paid by passengers in the current recession.
Manchester routes that face the chop are to/from Barcelona (Girona), Bremen, Brussels (Charleroi), Cagliari, Dusseldorf (Weeze), Frankfurt (Hahn), Marseille, Milan (Bergamo) and Shannon.
Passengers affected will be emailed directly by Ryanair and provided with a full refund or the alternative of flying to some destinations from competing airports in East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Liverpool.
The move comes closely after Ryanair announcing new bases at Leeds Bradford and Porto.
Ryanair’s spokesman Stephen McNamara said:“Ryanair continues to lower fares to encourage travel, but with passengers paying lower fares airports must lower their charges – particularly high cost airports like Manchester, London (Stansted) and Dublin. Ryanair had offered new routes, traffic and growth to Manchester Airport but since they prefer to preserve their high cost base than to grow, Ryanair will now switch/close nine Manchester routes to East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Liverpool from 1st October next resulting in the loss of 600,000 passengers p.a. and up to 600 jobs at Manchester.
“Ryanair will continue to grow at low cost airports which work with us to deliver the low fares required to keep passengers flying during this recession. Ryanair apologises to passengers affected by these cancellations and will contact them in the coming weeks to provide them with a full refund or a switch to similar flights to/from lower cost airports in the region.”