RYANAIR has announced the slashing of 50 jobs and the cancellation of 10 tourist routes at Liverpool Airport because of rising costs.
The airline said that the combination of high and rising government airport passenger duty (APD) and falling money exchange rates has had a devastating impact on traffic and tourism at John Lennon Airport.
Fifty jobs will be lost in the cutbacks including pilots, cabin crew and engineers.
Flights to popular European destinations including Budapest, Faro, Friedrichshafen, Gdansk, Lodz, Paris, Salzburg, Santiago, Szczecin and Valencia have been cancelled from the summer schedule,
The announcement will also mean a 14% cut in Liverpool based aircraft.
Further cuts in Ryanair’s winter schedule at Liverpool will be announced later.
Ryanair confirmed that the government Airport Passenger Duty makes the UK and Liverpool a higher cost destination and renders it uncompetitive against other European cities/countries, where airports are lowering costs and Governments are welcoming tourists, not taxing them.
Ryanair’s traffic continues to grow at airports where governments do not impose taxes as demonstrated by Ryanair’s 11% traffic growth in January 2009.
Ryanair’s 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.” THE ECHO