Belfast Telegraph

Ryanair blames tax for route cuts

Budget airline Ryanair has blamed a new German tourist tax for its decision to axe 34 routes from its schedule next summer.

Flights connecting Liverpool to Bremen and Birmingham to Dusseldorf are among those to be scrapped as a result of Germany's eight euro tax on flights, which comes into effect at the start of January.

Ryanair flights between Kerry and Dusseldorf will also be stopped as part of reductions in its German operation next year.

The airline said its decision to make "deep cuts" to its business in Germany will cost an estimated 3,000 jobs across the industry and reduce the number of passengers it flies in the country by three million a year.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary urged the German government to rethink the tax, which he said would damage the country's economy.

He called on Germany to follow the example set by Ireland which last week announced it would reduce its tourist tax from 10 euro to three euro in March.

Mr O'Leary said: "The German government's eight euro tourist tax continues to inflict significant damage on traffic, tourism and jobs in Germany. International experience shows that tourist taxes caused a large traffic and tourism collapse in both Ireland and the UK and we believe that this ill-advised tax will inflict similar damage to German tourism and jobs."

Ryanair will move its aircraft to bases outside Germany that welcome tourists, he added.

The UK increased its air passenger duty at the start of November. The levy on flights of up to 2,000 miles including those to Europe increased 9% to £11 (12.95 euro), while flights of between 2,000 and 4,000 miles including those to Egypt and America increased 33% to £60 (70.64 euro).

The levy on journeys of between 4,000 and 6,000 miles increased 50% to £75 (88 euro), and passengers on flights of more than 6,000 miles must pay £85 (100 euro), a 55% increase.

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