Ryanair to cut Edinburgh routes

Ryanair, Europe’s biggest discount carrier, said it would cut a further eight routes at Edinburgh Airport after failing to reach an agreement on fees with the terminal’s owner BAA.

Ryanair will axe flights to destinations including Fuerteventura, Spain, and Frankfurt from October, adding to the five routes that the carrier said in February it would remove from its summer schedule.

The cuts will reduce the number of its passengers using Edinburgh by about 500,000 a year — from 1.8m to 1.3m, and cost 500 jobs, the Dublin-based airline said.

Ryanair deputy chief executive officer Michael Cawley in the statement said: “Ryanair regrets BAA Edinburgh Airport’s rejection of our proposals for a competitive cost base which would allow Ryanair to further grow our traffic.”

“Sadly, BAA Edinburgh seems to prefer higher costs, even if it means fewer passengers and jobs at Edinburgh.”

BAA, which also owns Heathrow Airport, is seeking to sell Edinburgh Airport after losing a legal challenge to an order from Britain’s antitrust regulator to break up the company.

The airport operator, controlled by Spain’s Ferrovial SA, plans to take final bids for the airport this month and conclude a deal by the summer.

Edinburgh Airport’s managing director, Jim O’Sullivan said Ryanair’s estimate of the effect on passenger numbers and jobs was “speculative,” and that the airport operator was disappointed with Ryanair’s decision.

“We have tried extremely hard to negotiate with Ryanair but sadly on many issues have not been able to find common ground.

“We continue not to be able to accept their wish to not pay the agreed air traffic control costs that all other airlines pay,” he said.

— Bloomberg

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