More cuts by Ryanair at city hub

RyanairRyanair has announced further cuts to its services from Edinburgh Airport, axing eight routes from its winter schedule.

The budget airline said the changes will mean a drop in passenger traffic of 500,000 and could lead to the loss of 500 on-site jobs, however airport operator BAA said these figures were "speculative".
The winter routes being axed are Bratislava, Bremen, Frankfurt, Fuerteventura, Gothenburg, Kaunas, Lodz and Poznan. Closure of the routes from October 2012 will reduce the number of Ryanair flights to and from Edinburgh by 60, down from 168 to 108.

The announcement follows the airline's decision in February to cut five routes from its summer schedule because it could not come to an agreement with BAA over charges.

Ryanair has also warned that more cuts to its winter schedule may take place if BAA does not agree to an extension to its five-year base agreement, which expires in October 2012, on "more competitive terms".
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Speaking in Edinburgh, Ryanair deputy chief executive Michael Cawley 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 and routes for winter 2012 and beyond. Sadly, BAA Edinburgh seems to prefer higher costs, even if it means fewer passengers and jobs at Edinburgh.

"While Ryanair remains committed to Edinburgh Airport, with 1.3 million passengers and 17 routes this winter, we remain one of the largest airlines operating to and from Edinburgh. The BAA Edinburgh monopoly cannot continue to ignore the competitive marketplace where airports all over the UK and Europe have been reducing costs and lowering charges in return for traffic growth. We hope there is a way to reverse these cuts to ensure further Ryanair growth at Edinburgh."

Jim O'Sullivan, managing director of Edinburgh Airport, said: "Of course we are disappointed that Ryanair has announced that it will reduce its services from Edinburgh. It was expected as we saw similar cuts in last year's winter schedule. The numbers quoted on any passenger and job impacts are speculative and we look forward to further negotiations with Ryanair once the sale of the airport is concluded.

"However, our position remains the same. 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. As ever, our focus remains on providing managed, sustained and high-value growth, matching the aspirations of our city."

Edinburgh Airport is being sold by Spanish-owned BAA because competition regulators told it to sell off one of its Scottish hubs. The operator said in October last year that it hopes to have sold the airport by this summer.

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