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Ryanair expands operations from Charleroi, while closing Maastricht

21st November 2008 - 06:13 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Ryanair, Europe's largest low fares airline, announced today (20th Nov) that it will base a sixth Boeing 737-800 next generation aircraft at Brussels (Charleroi) and launch three new routes from 31st March 2009 after the Belgian government scrapped a proposed €10 tax on airline passengers. However, Ryanair will close its routes to/from  Maastricht on 8th January after the Dutch tax authorities imposed a similar tax in the Netherlands.

Ryanair's new Brussels (Charleroi) based aircraft will operate three return services each week to/from Barcelona (Reus) and Bratislava and twice per week to Trieste, providing an additional 110,000 passengers each year through Brussels (Charleroi) and an additional 110 local jobs.

Ryanair had called on both the Belgian and Dutch Governments to re-examine the impact their passenger tax would have on price sensitive passengers, highlighting that such a tax would severely impact tourism.

Ryanair's guaranteed lowest fares and no fuel surcharge has seen it continue to grow passenger numbers each month, carrying over 5.3million passengers in October (an 18% increase on October ‘07), while European and international passenger traffic carried by other airlines continues to fall as high cost, fuel surcharging airline haemorrhage passengers in the economic recession.

Ryanair recently called on the Irish government to re-examine its proposed €10 travel tax pointing out that Ryanair will reduce average fares by up to 20% this winter in order to keep passengers travelling and a €10 tax would severely impact on price sensitive passengers.

To celebrate the new aircraft, route and frequencies from Brussels (Charleroi) Ryanair released 1M FREE seats for travel throughout Europe in December, January and February which are available for booking on before midnight Friday.

Speaking in Brussels today, Ryanair's Michael Cawley said:

"Thanks to the Belgian government's decision to listen to the concerns of the business community, the tourism industry, airports and airlines the people of Brussels are celebrating the arrival of a 6th based aircraft and 3 exciting new routes which go on sale today. With 38 low fare Ryanair routes from Brussels, the people of Walloon region can continue to secure the guaranteed lowest fares and no fuel surcharges all over Europe. We are committed to keeping fares low during this recession and any additional taxation on passengers is detrimental to passenger travel. These extra passengers will bring the total number of jobs created by Ryanair passengers to 2,800 with Ryanair passengers spending up to €280m in Brussels and the Walloon in 2009..

Unfortunately while the people of Brussels celebrate, the people of Maastricht must reflect upon the closure of Ryanair routes to/from their region. The €11.25 travel tax the government of the Netherlands has introduced means that Ryanair can not continue to offer the low cost fares required on these route. Already this tax has led to a significant decline in overall passenger traffic in Holland this year and will stifle any growth projects. The government fraudulently called it an environmental tax but not one Euro raised from it has been spent on projects to help the environment. Instead it has directly resulted in the loss of 110 jobs and the loss of at least €12m in the Dutch economy.

Today we call on other governments, such as Ireland, to reconsider the impact their proposed tax will have on tourism and long term growth and to follow the lead of the Belgian government which has placed long term growth ahead of short term financial needs.

To celebrate the latest aircraft and routes for Brussels Ryanair is offering 1M FREE seats for travel throughout Europe in December, January and February. These seats will be snapped up fast and are available for booking on before midnight".

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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