Ryanair has announced plans to cut its Stansted traffic by 9 per cent “over the coming year”, following what it referred to as “unjustified and inflation-busting increases” in fees at the airport.
The low-cost carrier said it had planned to increase its Stansted traffic by 5 per cent from April this year, but will now cut frequencies on 43 routes and reduce weekly operations by over 170 flights.
Ryanair said the decision by out-going owners Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd (formerly BAA) to increase fees by 6 per cent was “a parting slap to Stansted’s airlines and passengers”.
The airport operator today completed the sale of the airport to Manchester Airport Group (MAG) for £1.5 billion.
“Given that Ferrovial/BAA has now agreed to sell the airport to MAG, it is impossible to understand why the BAA monopoly is again raising Stansted’s prices from April 2013 when it clearly won’t be running the airport from that date,” said Ryanair’s spokesperson Robin Kiely.
“Ryanair and other Stansted airlines now must ask was this surprise price increase part of a “sweetener” package to persuade MAG to pay £1.5bn for Stansted? Are passengers and airlines at Stansted again being hit in order to boost the sales proceeds for the Spanish giant, Ferrovial, from the sale of BAA Stansted?”
MAG was announced as the winning bidder for the sale of Stansted airport last month, and at the time said it had “a detailed integration plan in place to ensure a seamless transition of ownership and operations at Stansted which will maintain business as usual for passengers and customers” (see online news January 18).
Report by Mark Caswell