Ryanair blames airport fees for Edinburgh cuts

Marion Dakers
RYANAIR yesterday cut 60 weekly flights from Edinburgh Airport in a bid to force operator BAA to lower its fees.

The low-cost carrier warned that its move to axe eight routes from its winter schedule could cost up to 500 jobs at the airport.

Ryanair blamed BAA’s “uncompetitive” fees, and said its annual passenger traffic at Edinburgh would fall by 500,000 on a year ago due to the cuts.

Edinburgh, however, was already braced for Ryanair’s more modest winter plans. “It was expected as we saw similar cuts in last year’s winter schedule,” said managing director Jim O’Sullivan.

Edinburgh Airport is expected to change hands this year after BAA put it on the market following a competition ruling.

Ryanair argued that its routes needed to be finalised before the sale, as its current deal ends in October. “We need to sign a new contract now to allow us to plan our winter schedules, irrespective of who owns the airport… We need to have our planning and schedules in place,” said a spokesperson.

O’Sullivan said the airport is “look[ing] forward to further negotiations with Ryanair once the sale of the airport is concluded.”

He added that Ryanair is being asked to pay the same air traffic control costs as every other airline.

Earlier in the week, BAA said March traffic at Edinburgh had fallen 2.8 per cent on last year.