Ryanair axes 400 weekly flights from German airports
Ryanair will slash the number of flights it operates from a number of German airports next summer in a response to the German government's €8 passenger travel tax that takes effect from next month.
A total of more than 400 weekly flights are being axed at four airports. They include 122 flights at Berlin, 58 at Bremen, 84 at Dusseldorf Weeze and a further 150 at Frankfurt Hahn.
The cuts to services at Frankfurt-Hahn had been previously announced in October. The cuts span 34 routes served from the four airports, including 13 at Dusseldorf Weeze and eight at Bremen.
The cancelled routes that had been operational last summer, include services between Dusseldorf Weeze and Kerry.
Ryanair estimates the route reductions will result in a total of three million fewer passengers through the four affected airports, with 900,000 lost at Berlin and one million at Frankfurt-Hahn.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said that the German tax would inflict damage on the country's tourism numbers.
German airlines will have to pay up to €45 for long-haul flights per passenger as the government seeks to raise roughly €1bn in annual income from the levy.
Mr O'Leary said the aircraft being pulled from Germany would be shifted to bases that "welcome tourists". He maintained the Irish Government had recognised the damage the €10 travel tax did to Irish tourism when it slashed the fee to €3 in last week's Budget.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said the reduced fee would only apply from next March until the end of 2011 and that he expected an appropriate response from airlines. Ryanair welcomed the move but said it was a "half measure".