DN - Defence Notes

Ryanair to close Blackpool routes as airport stands firm on Development Fee

26th November 2008 - 16:36 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Ryanair, Europe's largest low fares airline, slammed the proposals by Blackpool Airport to introduce an Airport Development Fee with effect from the 5th January 2009. This fee will be levied on all passengers without exception after that date and will substantially increase the cost of travel through this small regional airport which is totally dependent on low fares for its passenger traffic.

Ryanair will close its Blackpool routes to/from Dublin (daily service) and Barcelona (Girona - three services per week) from 4th January - the day before the development fee begins. Ryanair has carried over 1.3 million passengers through Blackpool since it began operating in May 2003.

Ryanair had engaged in discussions with the management of the airport in attempts to underline the negative effect this fee would have and urge them not to introduce the fee. However, now that the airport has decided to go ahead with the introduction of the fee, Ryanair will withdraw all its services from the airport.

Commenting on the situation today, Ryanair's Deputy Chief Executive, Michael Cawley said:

"This is a black day for Blackpool International Airport. The management's decision, against Ryanair's advice, to introduce an Airport Development Fee is an extremely regressive step which inevitably involves a massive increase in the cost of travel for passengers through the airport. With so much choice for passengers in the locality, this increased cost is unsustainable and Ryanair is regrettably announcing the withdrawal of all its services to both Dublin and Barcelona (Girona) from the airport with effect from the 4th January 2009.

The route to successful airlines and successful airports is not through increasing charges for passengers but rather the reverse, reducing fares and reducing costs at airports which in turn drive passenger traffic and boost economic activity. With this step the management at Blackpool Airport have severely dented the economic prospects for the region which this airport serves and we call on them to reverse this decision immediately while there is still time to save the airport."

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