Thursday, February 28 16:48:50
Ryanair today said it will cut its services to and from Stansted Airport in England because the airport authority has increased its charges.
The Irish airline will cut its London Stansted traffic by 9pc over the coming year (from 12.5m to 11.4m) after the Ferrovial/BAA Stansted operator announced a further increase of Stansted's charges of 6pc from April 2013.
The charges increase comes despite the fact that Ferrovial/BAA has sold Stansted to Manchester Airport Group (MAG) who will take over the airport sometime before the end of March.
Ryanair has called on Stansted's regulator, the CAA, to investigate whether this 6pc price hike was a "sweetener" for Ferrovial/BAA's sale of Stansted, which raised £1.5bn in proceeds for Ferrovial, despite the fact that Stansted's traffic has declined from 24m p.a. to 17.5m p.a. over the last 6 years.
Ryanair, which had planned to grow its Stansted traffic by 5pc from April 2013, will now cut frequencies on 43 of its routes and reduce its weekly operations by over 170 flights, with the loss of 1.1m passengers (-9pc) and over 1,100 jobs at Stansted.
Ryanair's Robin Kiely said, "It's bad enough that Ferrovial/BAA has doubled prices over the past 6 years and presided over record traffic falls at Stansted, but it appears that the CAA now rewards this commercial failure by allowing Ferrovial/BAA to again raise fees in 2013 to compensate for its traffic declines in 2012. Given that Ferrovial/BAA has now agreed to sell the airport to MAG, it is impossible to understand why the BAA monopoly is again raising Stansted's prices from April 2013 when it clearly won't be running the airport from that date. Ryanair and other Stansted airlines now must ask was this surprise price increase part of a "sweetener" package to persuade MAG to pay £1.5bn for Stansted? Are passengers and airlines at Stansted again being hit in order to boost the sales proceeds for the Spanish giant, Ferrovial, from the sale of BAA Stansted?"