Ryanair axes 17 routes from major UK airport as massive row erupts
Hundreds of Ryanair flights at a major airport have been cancelled as the airline announced it is cutting its winter flight schedule over a massive row.
The airline claims it is making the decision to turn its back on Dublin Airport due to the airport’s soaring charges and environmental policies.
It has cancelled 17 routes and moved 19 “eco-friendly” aircraft from Dublin Airport to different European airports which it says incentivises airlines with quieter, low-emission aircraft.
But the airline’s claims started a tit-for-tat between the DAA, the operator of Dublin Airport, which “categorically denied” the claims, which it says are false.
Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson said its reduced flights will lead to a roughly 10 percent cut in passenger numbers out of the airport compared to last year.
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In a statement later contested by the airport operator, Ryanair said it was unhappy with Dublin Airport’s “rising passenger charges of 45 percent, ongoing Capex mismanagement and their failure to deliver a meaningful environmental incentive scheme that rewards lower emission aircraft”.
It said: “DAA has a history of mismanagement at Dublin Airport, including understaffing summer security, wasting taxpayers’ money on ill-thought-out infrastructure projects and failing to support low-cost access and sustainable growth.”
The airline said the 19 planes are part of its “gamechanger enviro-friendly” fleet of Boeing 737 8200 aircraft, which it said reduce noise by 40 percemt and CO2 emissions by 16 percent while carrying 4 percent more passengers per flight.
The company initially said DAA is raising its “already excessive charges by a ludicrous 45 percent”.
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But DAA said regulated charges at the airport, which are set by the aviation regulator, are set to rise by only 6% in 2024. It also notes that they have “discount schemes” in place designed to incentivise eco-friendly airlines.
In a statement, it said it “categorically denied false claims by Ryanair”, with chief executive Kenny Jacobs saying he was “surprised and disappointed” by the airline’s announcement.
He said: “I am baffled why any airline with sustainability ambitions would choose to turn down the opportunity to operate lower CO2 emission and less noisy aircraft at Dublin Airport by turning down the new discount schemes.
“The Ryanair decision to reduce their Max fleet at Dublin Airport next winter is adding to their cost base when by actually increasing the Max fleet they would in fact pay even less in 2024 that they will in 2023.”
Mr Jacobs said Ryanair’s claim of a 45 percent increase in charges in 2024 is false.
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He added: “There is nothing approaching a 45 percent proposed rise in pricing at Dublin Airport which is patently false for anyone who has studied the regulators’ determination last December.
“Rather than depending on back-of-a-scratchcard mathematics, I would urge those making such false statements to redo their sums and more importantly study the range of sustainability incentives proposed at Dublin Airport, and join us on the journey to a carbon-free aviation eco-system over the coming years.”
The Commission for Aviation Regulation, now the Irish Aviation Authority, said in December a nominal price cap of 8.68 euro in 2023 will increase to 9.23 euro in 2024 and includes inflation projections and the assumption Dublin Airport will deliver on its own investment plan.
This is a 6.3 percent year-on-year rise.
The same document gives a nominal price cap of 11.73 euro for 2026, which is a 46 percent increase on the 8.00 euro final price cap in 2022.
In a later statement, Ryanair clarified that it was basing its figure on the 2026 rates.
It added: “Running an airport is far more complex than just issuing press releases.”
Elsewhere in his press conference, Mr Wilson said the 19 aircraft will be moved to Luton and “across Europe”, including Spanish and Italian airports.
Asked if passengers should expect prices to increase on routes with reductions, Mr Wilson said: “Where you have less of anything and you’ve got demand, well then prices will rise.
“You get into a sort of a death spiral with this, because if you’ve got a market where people have an expectation at a particular level and you contract that market, well then the price goes up – but it’s very easy to stop.”
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