Ryanair claims it is cutting flights to Spain due to airport tax – actually not that at all.

Ryanair has become the latest budget airline to axe flights to Spain. It says this is due to the recent doubling of Spanish airport taxes. EasyJet announced last week that it was closing its Madrid base and cutting the number of flights to Spain by 7% this winter, and says this is due to the higher charges. In practice, this has very little if anything to do with APD, it is purely a commercial decision.  Ryanair always cut back on flights during the Winter.  They have recognised demand is soft and demand to fly to countries in financial and political difficulty is softer than most so are cutting back there.  They always find an excuse to have a pop at APD as they hate passenger’s money going to anyone other than Ryanair.



Ryanair to axe flights to Spain

24.7.2012 (TravelMole)
Ryanair has become the latest budget airline to axe flights to Spain following a doubling of airport taxes.

EasyJet announced last week that it was closing its Madrid base and cutting the number of flights to Spain by 7% this winter due to the higher charges.

Now Ryanair has confirmed it will drop flights from the UK to both Madrid and Barcelona this winter.

It is axing 11 routes to Madrid, including flights from Manchester, and four routes to Barcelona, including flights from East Midlands and Leeds Bradford. It is also reducing frequency on many routes from both airports, including to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool from Barcelona.

Ryanair said the decision was in response to a doubling of airport departure taxes from July 1.

From November, Ryanair will base three fewer aircraft at Madrid and two fewer at Barcelona’s El Prat airport.

http://www.travelmole.com/news_feature.php?m_id=s~T_Y!vnm&w_id=8096&news_id=2002387


 

Comments from AirportWatch members:

This has very little if anything to do with APD, it is purely a commercial decision.  Ryanair always cut back on flights during the Winter.  They have recognised demand is soft and demand to fly to countries in financial and political difficulty is softer than most so are cutting back there.

Otherwise why are they not cutting back proportionately all of their flights? They always find an excuse to have a pop at APD as they hate passenger’s money going to anyone other than Ryanair (and would rather governments pay RA to fly rather than tax passengers to discourage them flying)

Although they don’t say it, presumably the reason for the withdrawal of these routes is a lack of sufficient customers wishing to fly them. Unless they have contacted all the customers who haven’t made bookings, it would be pure speculation that the lack of customers is due to a doubling of APD.

Last year some tourism operators were seeing a trend of 14 day holidays being truncated to 11 day holidays due to the credit crunch. In this scenario there was no significant depletion of the numbers who were flying to Spain – but there was an approximate drop of 25% in the money spent while on holiday there. Although this did not help the emissions situation it would have made an inroad into the amount of money being “exported” by UK residents on holiday out of country.
If APD were a problem, those taking 7 day holidays would have more than covered any increase by taking a 6 day break. But if they are not booking at all, then the problem is far more fundamental than a shift in APD.

See earlier:

Tourists to Spain face extra airport tax

5 July 2012 (BBC)

Spain has increased the amount of departure tax it charges.  The increase will be, on average, only perhaps 20% above the current level, but from the largest Spanish airports, it will be almost doubled. This will mean a rise of some €5 to €9 or so. The tax is charged to the airline, and they can choose whether to pass it on to the passengers – Ryanair certainly will get its passengers to pay.  The tax  is applied “retrospectively to customers who booked flights before 2 July 2012 and are travelling from 1 July onwards.  Spain is implementing drastic measures to try to slash its budget deficit to 5.3% from 8.5% in 2011.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2585