Ryanair announced today that, for the second straight year, it will reduce its aircraft from Stansted Airport in London, the Associated Press reports. In addition to cutting its London fleet by nearly a third, the airline will suspend operations at seven other airports in Europe: Basel in Switzerland; Budapest, Hungary; Krakow and Rzeszow in Poland; Palma and Valencia in Spain; and Salzburg in Austria. High fuel prices and an inability to negotiate lower airport fees were cited as the primary reasons.
Beginning in October, Ryanair's aircraft at Stansted will drop from 40 to 28. In addition, according to a statement by Chief Executive Michael O'Leary at a London news conference, the cutbacks will cost 900 jobs at the airport, including 150 Ryanair employees.
Ryanair will also transfer several Stansted-based aircraft to new winter routes in Spain's holiday islands and Costa del Sol as well as Katowice in Poland, reducing winter flights to Rome, Dublin, and Glasgow.
O'Leary blamed BAA PLC, the company that operates all major London airports, and the Dublin Airport Authority for forcing the airline's failure to negotiate lower airport fees, citing the airport managers' rejection of a Ryanair proposal to lower fees per passenger in exchange for uninterrupted winter business.