Ryanair cuts flights by a fifth
Ryanair is slashing flights by a fifth at Dublin this summer, blaming rising airport charges and a Government travel tax.
The no-frills carrier said frequency of services would be cut across the board from the end of March at the hub, leading to 150 lay-offs and the loss of more than 2,000 support jobs.
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary warned fares would increase out of Ireland by at least 10pc, with no more free seat sales over the next 12 months.
He said: "I expect out of Ireland they would rise by a minimum of 10pc this year. Certainly out of Ireland they would go up by at least three euro, probably more. I think all of the air fares out of Ireland will rise, because the airlines have cut back capacity so much."
Mr O'Leary said passenger numbers at Dublin had fallen by three million in the last year, blaming the airport fees and the 10 euro per departing passenger tax unveiled in the Budget for 2009.
He predicted the Government would be forced to scrap the levy.
But the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) claimed Ryanair is reducing flights to suit itself, claiming the airline's own charges had soared in recent years.
From June to August the airline is to increase its sun-holiday flights from Dublin - including Alicante, Canary Islands, Faro and Malaga - although it said passengers would pay more for those destinations in the summer.
The DAA questioned why Ryanair is increasing flights at Dublin in the summer if it is reducing services because of airport charges.
A DAA statement read: "Ryanair's public position does not stand up to scrutiny. If, as it claims, charges at Dublin Airport are one of the key reasons that it is reducing capacity, why do those same charges not have any impact on the company's desire to offer additional flights to sun destination from Dublin this year?"