Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dublin flights are reduced

Ryanair estimates that its Dublin traffic will decline by 250,000 passengers as a result of the move.

Ryanair is going to cut the number of flights at Dublin Airport by 20 per cent during the winter season, it confirmed today.

Compared to last winter when the airline based 18 airplanes in Dublin and operated 1,200 weekly flights, it will have 14 aircraft and less than 1,000 flights from the capital.

The airline said this morning it had taken its decision in part because of the expense of being based at Dublin, and the introduction of the €10 tourist tax, which Ryanair claimed has made Ireland an uncompetitive destination.

Ryanair claims that the tourist tax together with high airport charges has led to a serious decline in traffic through the airport. It forecasts that Dublin Airport will lose over 2 million passengers this year.

“In winter 2007 Ryanair had 22 aircraft based at Dublin Airport. Last year we reduced this by 20 per cent to 18 aircraft and this year we’re cutting it by a further 20 per cent to just 14 aircraft. The high and rising costs at Dublin Airport, combined with an insanely stupid €10 tourist tax, are devastating tourism here in Ireland," said the airline's CEO Michael O'Leary.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said it was disappointed by Ryanair's move and expressed doubts as to whether the cuts would take place.

The DAA also said it believed the airline's decision was not due to charges at Dublin Airport but was "purely related to the current economic downturn."

"It is not clear what proportion of these cuts will actually take place. Recent experience shows that Ryanair announces large cuts in capacity to the media, but subsequently reduces capacity by a much smaller amount in reality," the authority said in a statement.

DAA claimed that last year Ryanair announced it was to cut weekly flights by 12 per cent at Dublin Airport but that the actual capacity cut was 4.2 per cent.

The authority added that independent research had proven that passenger charges at Dublin Airport are among the lowest of any similar airport in Europe and that charges have fallen by 30 per cent in real terms over the past 20 years.

"Airport charges at Dublin Airport are regulated and the regulator has sanctioned some increases over the past three years. During the same three-year period, according to recent independently verified figures, Ryanair’s own charges have exploded," it said.