Low-fare airline Ryanair is to close or switch  9 of its 10 routes at Manchester
airport from October.

The Irish budget carrier blamed Manchester airport’s refusal to lower its charges
for the decision, which will mean the loss of up to 600 local jobs.

A total of 44 weekly Ryanair flights will be lost at Manchester from October
1, with the loss of 60,000 passengers a year.

Ryanair said it had offered Manchester an additional 28 weekly flights and 400,000
new passengers which would have created 400 new jobs if the airport ‘reduced its
high charges’.

But airport bosses said they did not think the charges they imposed were unreasonable
and turned down Ryanair’s offer.

This means Ryanair’s Manchester routes to/from Barcelona (Girona), Bremen in
Germany, Brussels (Charleroi), Cagliari in Sardinia, Dusseldorf (Weeze), Frankfurt
(Hahn), Marseille, Milan (Bergamo) and Shannon will cease from October 1.

Passengers affected will be emailed directly by Ryanair and provided with a full
refund or the alternative of flying to some destinations from "competing, lower-cost airports" – East Midlands, or the recently-announced new Ryanair base at Leeds Bradford and

Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: "Ryanair continues to lower fares to encourage
travel, but with passengers paying lower fares airports must lower their charges
– particularly high-cost airports like Manchester, Stansted and Dublin.

"Ryanair had offered new routes, traffic and growth to Manchester airport but
since they prefer to preserve their high-cost base than to grow, Ryanair will
now switch/close nine Manchester routes."

A Manchester airport spokesman said: "Notwithstanding all of our investment in
Manchester airport, including during the current recession, we don’t believe that
charges as low as £3 per passenger are unreasonable. Clearly, Ryanair do and that’s

"We’ve consistently cut our charges for the last 15 years, even when faced with
increased costs such as security.

"Passengers will still be able to travel directly to the majority of the destinations
affected by choosing other airlines."

Earlier, Travel Trade Gazette quoted Manchester airport’s managing director Andrew
Cornish as saying: "Ryanair made us an offer we could refuse."

Ryanair has already announced cutbacks in winter 2009/10 flights at Stansted
and Dublin.

Speaking on the Manchester announcement today, Gary Pearce of the GMB union said:
"Ryanair has threatened cuts at Stansted, partly for the same reason. It is not
clear if this is a negotiating tactic or if they will go through with this threat."

link to article