Ryanair to scrap airport check-in desks

25 Feb 2009 by Sara Turner

Business Traveller can confirm reports that Ryanair plans to close all airport check-in desks by the end of the year.

In a bid to reduce costs, passengers will not be able to check in at a manned desk, with online check-in the only option for many airports. Passengers with bags to check in will use a dedicated bag-drop. The savings will be passed on to passengers in the form of lower fares.

Ryanair launched free self-service check-in desks at Stansted last year, in co-operation with BAA (see online news September 9). The Irish airline will continue to have manned airport ticket desks.

After the carrier announced the loss of more than 350 jobs among pilots, cabin crew and engineers earlier this month, the changes will lead to more job cuts, as check-in staff will no longer be needed.

The move comes amid news of Ryanair flights being scrapped from Liverpool, Shannon and Dublin airports this summer, although the majority of the routes affected are aimed at leisure travellers. The airline announced a 20 per cent cut in Dublin-based aircraft (from 22 to 18), a cut in Liverpool-based aircraft from seven to six, and in Shannon, the number of aircraft will be cut from six to four.

Ryanair blames Dublin Airport Authority’s €10 charge, to be introduced in Ireland next month, and the new Air Passenger Duty (APD) in the UK (see online news September 25) for traffic collapse and subsequent cuts.

Ryanair’s deputy chief executive Michael Cawley said of the Liverpool cuts: “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. 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.”

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Report by Sara Turner

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