Ryanair slashes Liverpool flights

19.2.2009   (TravelMole)

Ryanair has blamed Air Passenger Duty and the slump in the value for  sterling
for cutbacks this summer at Liverpool airport.

Ten destinations are being cut from the airline’s network from the   Merseyside
airport with the loss of 50 pilot, cabin crew and   engineering jobs.

Ryanair is pulling one aircraft out of Liverpool to leave six,   resulting in
an anticipated eight per cent drop in passengers from 2.7 million last year to
2.5 million in 2009.

Further cuts in the winter schedule at Liverpool will be announced   later, the
carrier warned.   Destinations to go include Paris, Budapest, Valencia, Faro and

Deputy chief executive Michael Cawley said:    "The combination of the high cost
government APD and falls in sterling has already created a    traffic collapse at
Liverpool Airport.

"The decision by the UK Government to continue to impose high APD  charges and
increase them over the next two years is completely   unacceptable given the current
economic climate.

"Ryanair has repeatedly called for this tax to be scrapped by  highlighting that
such travel taxes have failed in both the UK and   Dutch markets, where they immediately
resulted in traffic declines and sadly these declines look set to continue.

"This government must realise you can only promote tourism by  welcoming visitors,
not taxing them.

"These cuts can and will be reversed if the government’s greedy APD is   scrapped
– only then can we grow passenger traffic at Liverpool and throughout the UK."



see also, by comparison, Michael O’Leary’s claims made in 2006.


O’Leary pooh-poohs green tax idea

by Dan Milmo, transport correspondent


Ryanair has dismissed calls for green taxes on aviation as the “usual horseshit”
and warned that extra levies on airlines will not put people off flying.

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of the low-cost carrier, also ruled out joining
the EU carbon emissions trading scheme, seen by some airlines as their best hope
of avoiding punitive taxes as governments consider curbing the industry’s contribution
to the greenhouse effect.

“It’s the usual horseshit that we hear,” he said.   “There is a fundamental misunderstanding
about aviation and environmental taxes at the moment.  No one knows what they
are talking about.”

Mr O’Leary’s comments follow the publication this week of the Stern report, which
warned of catastrophic economic consequences if climate change is not tackled.

Mr O’Leary said aviation accounted for a “Mickey Mouse” 3% of carbon emissions
across the EU, compared with nearly 25% from road transport, which he said had
not been affected by petrol levies and other charges.   He added that Ryanair’s growth will not be affected by further taxes because its ticket prices
will remain more competitive than its rivals’.

Taxing aviation will not affect the growth of Ryanair one iota,” he said. “We
will continue to grow like gangbusters because the price differential between
Ryanair and easyJet and British Airways will not change.”

Recent economic studies contradict Ryanair, pointing to evidence that a price
increase of 1.5% is enough to put some people off flying.

A leaked memo from the environment secretary, David Miliband, at the weekend
urged the Treasury to consider raising air-passenger duty and introduce VAT on
certain flights. Low-cost airlines have come in for specific criticism from the
environmental lobby because they are the fastest growing in the industry and encourage
“frivolous” air travel.

Speaking at the launch of an in-flight gaming service in London yesterday, Mr
O’Leary said the government should focus on British Airways, which he said operates
a “gas-guzzling” fleet of older aircraft.

“If people are serious about tackling the minuscule contribution of aviation,
what they ought to be tackling are the operators of the old gas-guzzling aircraft
like BA or those who run two flights to get you to your destination, unlike low-fares

A spokesperson for BA said the claims were “just not true” because the airline’s
280-strong fleet has an average age of 10 years and it has started replacing its
oldest long-haul aircraft.

Mr O’Leary also ruled out joining the EU carbon emissions trading scheme, which
British Airways and other European airlines are pressing to join. The scheme is
seen by many industry executives as the least worst option facing airlines, who
fear that political momentum is gathering behind measures to tackle airline growth.

“I am far too busy doubling Ryanair over the next few years to be joining any
carbon emissions trading scheme,” Mr O’Leary said.

Ryanair describes itself as the “most environmentally friendly” airline because
it is overhauling its fleet of Boeing aircraft with new fuel-efficient planes.

Mr O’Leary also dismissed Sir Richard Branson’s pledge to invest $3bn ( £1.6bn)
in renewable energy over the next decade as a “PR stunt” because the billionaire
expects to fund the promise from the profits of his transport interests, which
include the Virgin Atlantic airline and Virgin Trains. “I doubt if the profit
will get to $3bn over the next 100 years, let alone the next 10,” he said.

Richard Dyer, aviation campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said aviation had
to be tackled because its carbon emissions are expected to grow much more quickly
than those of road transport or power generators. According to an Oxford University
report, aviation will account for a quarter of UK carbon emissions by 2050 – up
from 5.5% now – if no action is taken.

“Road transport and power generators are not growing nearly as fast as aviation,”
said Mr Dyer. “It is a problem for the future and that’s why we have to curb demand