Low-cost Irish carrier Ryanair announced today that as of October 1 it will close nine of its routes to and from Manchester, saying that Manchester Airport “refused to lower its charges to reflect the lower fares being paid by passengers in the current recession.”
The nine routes are Barcelona (Girona), Bremen, Brussels (Charleroi), Cagliari, Dusseldorf (Weeze), Frankfurt (Hahn), Marseille, Milan (Bergamo) and Shannon.
“Ryanair had offered Manchester an additional 28 weekly flights and 400,000 new passengers which would have created 400 new jobs if the airport reduced its high charges,” the company said in a statement, adding that the cut lines will result in the loss of 44 weekly Manchester flights, 600,000 passengers per year and up to 600 local jobs.
Ryanair has said passengers affected by the changes would be e-mailed and, "provided with a full refund, or the alternative of flying to some destinations" from East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Liverpool.
A Manchester Airport spokesperson said: “Not withstanding all of our investment in Manchester Airport including during the current recession, we don’t believe that charges as low as £3 per passenger are unreasonable. Clearly, Ryanair do and that’s regrettable…Passengers will still be able to travel directly to the majority of the destinations affected by choosing other airlines.”