Thursday 18 January 2018

Ryanair may cut services in Belgium if €3 ticket tax imposed

Ryanair aircraft at Stansted Airport
Ryanair aircraft at Stansted Airport
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair has threatened to slash services at Belgium’s Charleroi airport after the local Walloon government voted to impose a €3 tax on airline tickets in the region.

Ryanair, which is the biggest airline operator in the region, is also the biggest customer at Charleroi. It’s on target to carry 6m passengers to the airport this year. But it has vowed to cut capacity by 17pc next year resulting in 1m fewer passengers if the tax goes ahead. It claims that would result in 1,000 job losses.

The local government – which needs to get the tax approved by the central government – plans to introduce the levy on January 1.

The airport’s manager, Jean-Jacques Cloquet, said it his reaction was one of “incomprehension” that the Walloon government would introduce the tax when the negative impact of such levies on passenger traffic is so evident in other countries that have introduced them. He said he’s hoping the central government will renounce the tax.

A spokesman for Ryanair said this morning that it has sought an urgent meeting with the Walloon government.

He added that since 2008, when Belgium dropped plans for a similar tax, that Ryanair has increased passenger traffic at Charleroi from 2.5m to 6m a year.

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