RYANAIR will cut flights to Spain by 12% in response to airport taxes having doubled at its two main cities.
Up to 4,500 Spanish jobs will be cut and 648 flights axed per week, with 35% of flights to Madrid cancelled by the Irish airline and 23% of those to Barcelona.
The tax hikes were introduced by the Spanish airport authority, AENA, in July this year.
“Ryanair objects to the Spanish government’s decision to double airport taxes at both Madrid and Barcelona airports and increase airport charges at many other Spanish airports,” said Ryanair deputy chief executive Michael Cawley.
“Sadly, this will again lead to severe traffic, tourism and job cuts at both Madrid and Barcelona airports this summer as part of a 12% overall reduction in Ryanair’s Spanish operations.
“Ryanair’s traffic cuts will cause a combined loss of 3.1m passengers and over 3,100 jobs at Madrid and Barcelona El Prat, while other airports elsewhere Europe offer lower costs, where Ryanair continues to grow.
“These route and traffic cuts can be reversed but only when the Spanish government and its already high cost airport monopoly AENA reverse these unjustified tax increases and reduces its high airport charges, in order to stimulate tourism.”
The cancellations will come into place from March 30, 2013.