Further cuts to services from Edinburgh airport have been confirmed by Ryanair.
Eight routes are being axed from its winter schedule, reducing the number of weekly flights to and from Edinburgh from 168 to 108 and cutting annual passenger numbers by 500,000.
The routes being dropped from October are to Bratislava, Bremen, Frankfurt, Fuerteventura, Gothenburg, Kaunas, Lodz and Poznan. This leaves a network of 17 routes for the winter, 10 of which face possible cuts.
The cutbacks could lead to the loss of 500 on-site jobs, a figure airport operator BAA described as “speculative”.
The move follows the budget airline’s decision in February to cut five routes from its summer schedule because it could not come to an agreement with airport owner BAA over charges.
Ryanair warned that deeper cuts to its winter schedule “may be inevitable” if BAA does not agree to an extension to a five-year base agreement, which expires in October, on “more competitive terms”.
Deputy chief executive Michael Cawley said: “Ryanair regrets BAA Edinburgh airport’s rejection of our proposals for a competitive cost base which would allow Ryanair to further grow our traffic and routes for winter 2012 and beyond.
“Sadly, BAA Edinburgh seems to prefer higher costs, even if it means fewer passengers and jobs at Edinburgh.
“While Ryanair remains committed to Edinburgh Airport, with 1.3 million passengers and 17 routes this winter we remain one of the largest airlines operating to and from Edinburgh.
“The BAA Edinburgh monopoly cannot continue to ignore the competitive marketplace where airports all over the UK and Europe have been reducing costs and lowering charges in return for traffic growth. We hope there is a way to reverse these cuts to ensure further Ryanair growth at Edinburgh.”
The airport’s managing director Jim O’Sullivan said: “Of course we are disappointed that Ryanair has announced that it will reduce its services from Edinburgh.
“It was expected as we saw similar cuts in last year’s winter schedule. The numbers quoted on any passenger and job impacts are speculative and we look forward to further negotiations with Ryanair once the sale of the airport is concluded.
“However, our position remains the same. We have tried extremely hard to negotiate with Ryanair but sadly on many issues have not been able to find common ground.
“We continue not to be able to accept their wish to not pay the agreed air traffic control costs that all other airlines pay. As ever, our focus remains on providing managed, sustained and high-value growth, matching the aspirations of our city.”
The airport is being sold by BAA as part of a series of disposals forced on the comp any by the Competition Commission.
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