Another month, another spat for Ryanair. The low-cost Irish carrier has fallen out with Manchester Airport over its landing charges – and as a result, has cancelled nine of its ten routes from the airport. That’s bad news for passengers: anyone planning to travel on the 44 weekly Ryanair flights facing the chop will now be forced to travel further afield to catch their flight, or switch to a more expensive rival. And with 600 local jobs likely to be lost as a result, it’s not just customers who are losing out…
The budget airline said the flights, which take 600,000 customers a year to destinations including Barcelona, Brussels, Frankfurt and Shannon, will stop running from October 1. Apparently the majority of affected flights will be switched to East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Liverpool airports, so forward-thinking customers already booked on cancelled flights will be offered the choice between switching to one of these or getting a refund (which we’re sure they’ll be delighted about). Ryanair announced 14 new routes from Leeds last week, so clearly it got a better deal there than Manchester was willing to offer…
Of course this isn’t the first time Ryanair has fallen out with an airport operator over landing charges. Last year the budget airline found itself in hot water (and within a whisker of the courtroom) after refusing to pay £1m in additional charges at BAA’s Stansted airport. The carrier – which has since ditched 30% of its winter flights from the airport – insists that BAA and co should be doing their bit to promote the tourist industry: ‘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,’ a spokesperson grumbled.
So far, belligerent Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary appears to have kept his counsel on the saga (the latest in a long list of spats between his airline and… well, pretty much everyone it comes into contact with). Given that he labelled BAA execs ‘tw*ts’ last year when they tried to sue his company for non-payment, we suspect the Manchester Airport suits will probably be quite grateful for that...
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Jobs at risk as Ryanair grounds 90% of its Manchester flights