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Ryanair cuts flights and jobs at Liverpool airport

[February 19th 2009]

Budget airline Ryanair says it has been forced to make cutbacks at Liverpool John Lennon airport.

The Irish based low cost airline says that a combination of “high and rising” airport passenger duty (APD) and the weakness of the pound “have had a devastating impact on traffic and tourism at Liverpool airport”.

According to Ryanair, “APD makes the UK and Liverpool a higher cost destination and renders it uncompetitive against other European cities/countries, where airports are lowering costs and governments are welcoming tourists, not taxing them”.

This is the first time that Ryanair has axed flights for the summer season at Liverpool. The no frills airline says cuts for the winter season at Liverpool will be announced later.

The number of Ryanair aircraft based at Liverpool is being reduced from seven to six. There will also be a 14% cut in weekly rotations from 189 to 163. Traffic will be reduced from 2.7 million in 2008 to 2.5 million pax in 2009/10. And 50 jobs will be lost, including pilots, cabin crew and engineers.

Announcing the cuts Michael Cawley of Ryanair 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,” Cawley continues.

“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,” Cawley concludes.

Ryanair flights from Liverpool John Lennon airport currently include Barcelona, Malaga, Ibiza, Faro, Madrid, Alicante, Milan and Murcia.

Written by: Nick Purdom