Ryanair is to scrap its London to Brussels Charleroi route from April 29, it was announced today.
The decision follows the EC ruling that the Irish no-frills airline should repay €4.5m of the subsidies it receives in connection with its Charleroi operation.
Ryanair currently operates up to eight daily flights on the route, carrying more than 360,000 people a year.
The airline said the cutback was the the first element of its response to the EC’s decision against which it is appealing.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “These capacity reductions are bad news for customers at Brussels Charleroi, but good news for other lower-cost airports.
“As the Brussels-London route had the lowest fares, this route cannot be sustained if costs are to be increased as a result of the commission’s decision to increase ticket prices by €6-€8 per ticket.
These flights will now operate on lower cost routes between private airports such as London Stansted, Glasgow Prestwick, Stockholm Skavsta and London Luton.”
He went on: “Ryanair will shortly be meeting with Brussels Charleroi Airport and the (local Belgian) Walloon authorities to agree a way forward. If these talks result in a new agreement with a similar low cost base as before then Ryanair’s low fares will continue at Charleroi.
“However, if costs are increased, or the Walloon authorities do not share our vision for the lowest possible air fares for ordinary people then there will be further flight reductions and route closures, as aircraft are sent to other airports where the cost base is already significantly lower than Ryanair’s original costs at Charleroi.”