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Mon, Nov 26, 2012

Ryanair Cutting Budapest Flights

Low-Cost Carrier Involved In Dispute With Airport Operator

Ryanair announced on Thursday that it will be cutting its Budapest base by 40 percent with the closure of 10 routes and loss of over 280 weekly flights beginning January 10, 2013. Ryanair cites increased charges at the Hochtief-run airport, which the airline also says refused to provide efficient facilities and failed to offer a competitive cost base for future growth offered by Ryanair.  Ryanair projects its Budapest traffic will fall by 800,000 passengers to 1.2 million, leading to the loss of up to 800 “on-site” jobs.

The airline said Hochtief’s failure to agree a long term growth deal with Europe’s largest airline is further proof that Budapest Airport has no interest growing Hungarian tourism, traffic and jobs as it repeatedly increases charges even as its traffic declines. This was confirmed by Patrick Bohl (Budapest Airport) who recently admitted that 'budget airline’ passengers pay more than Malev transfer passengers, with Budapest enjoying “probably the best recovery any airport has seen when they lost a national carrier.”

The Budapest cuts will include:

  • 5 to 3 based aircraft
  • 30 routes to 20 (down 33%).
  • Over 280 weekly flights cut to less than 170 (down 40%).
  • Frequency cuts on 9 of 20 other routes.

In a news release, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said the cuts are regrettable, and confirms that they can be reversed if a competitive cost offer and efficient facilities become available at Budapest Airport. "Ryanair will now switch two aircraft from Budapest with the loss of 10 routes, reductions on nine others and the loss of 110 weekly flights," O'Leary said speaking in Budapest Thursday. "Sadly, 800,000 passengers ... and over 800 jobs will be lost by Budapest to other airports elsewhere in Europe, where Ryanair will continue to grow.

"With 1.2 million passengers and 20 routes, Ryanair will remain one of the 2 largest airlines operating at Budapest, but Hochtief cannot continue to ignore the competitive marketplace, where airports all over Europe have been reducing costs and offering efficient facilities in return for traffic growth," O'Leary continued. "We hope there is a way to reverse these cuts to ensure further Ryanair growth at Budapest."

FMI: www.ryanair.com

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