RYANAIR is axing 150 weekly Dublin flights this winter, ending the dramatic Dublin expansion kicked off by the airline three years ago.
The move comes as the world's airlines batten down the hatches amid soaring fuel prices and weakening economic conditions.
The airline last night warned that up to 500 jobs at the airport could be lost as a result of its decision, although the actual losses are likely to be significantly less.
It will also slash its Stansted winter schedule tomorrow, with hundreds of weekly flights there expected to be grounded.
Ryanair last night said final details of all Dublin flights to be axed have yet to be confirmed, with some reductions in services likely across "most" Dublin routes, while the daily Warsaw flight will be eliminated.
The cull will also see four planes removed from their Dublin base, leaving 18 aircraft in the capital.
Chief executive Michael O'Leary said seasonal cuts would "become a feature" of Ryanair's Dublin operations over the coming years.
Attributing the cutbacks to "ridiculous" costs levied by the "useless Dublin Airport monopoly", Ryanair said the reductions would deprive the Dublin region of 500,000 passengers and would obliterate 500 seasonal jobs.
The figures are based on the assumption that every 1,000 passengers supports one job.
The numbers, however, were contested by aviation sources, who pointed out that the 500,000 passenger loss assumed the abandoned Ryanair flights would have flown with 100pc capacity.
In reality, Ryanair fills an average of 80pc of its seats, and the flights to be culled will inevitably be those with weaker passenger figures, suggesting the number of Ryanair passengers lost will be closer to 350,000, putting lost jobs at around 350.
Ryanair's equations also assume no passengers switch from the abandoned Ryanair services to other flights, particularly the Aer Lingus Warsaw route.
Sources also questioned the validity of Ryanair's figures since the airline recently warned that 900 jobs could be lost if five planes were pulled out of Dublin Airport.
Mr O'Leary said yesterday his company would definitely "be taking out Dublin jobs over the winter", without giving guiding numbers.
Those jobs cuts are likely to be achieved by not replacing staff who leave, he added, although redundancies "can't be ruled out".
A spokesman for the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) declined to comment on the prospect of Ryanair's move prompting job losses across the airport's 2,200-strong workforce.
However, in a heated statement issued earlier in the afternoon, the DAA said it "strongly" believed Ryanair's announcement was influenced by "the airline's own business environment" rather than airport costs.