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Ryanair blames ‘tourist tax’ as airline cuts winter flights

Budget airline Ryanair is to cut capacity from its Dublin base by 15% over the winter, blaming increased passenger charges that it believes have caused traffic |to drop through the Republic’s main airport.

The carrier said it would |reduce the number of planes flying from Dublin from 14 to 12 and will operate less than 850 weekly flights compared to 1,000 flights last winter.

The airline blamed rising charges at Dublin Airport, which it attributed to the airport’s €1.2bn investment in developing its new

Terminal 2 (T2), as well as the detrimental effect of a €10 duty imposed on passengers.

Ryanair said the aircraft would be switched to other EU countries “which have reduced airport charges and scrapped Government tourist taxes”.

The move echoes a similar strategy announced for UK operations last week, when the company unveiled plans to reduce capacity at Stansted by 17% over the |winter months.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary singled out the Irish government and the Dublin Airport Authority for blame as he announced the winter cuts.

“Ryanair believes that the only way out of this mess is for the Irish government to scrap its €10 tourist tax, as the Dutch and Belgians have already, and for the Dublin Airport Authority to transfer the €1.2bn T2 white elephant to NAMA, which would allow the DAA to reverse these 40% passenger cost increases, make Dublin Airport competitive, and begin the process of reversing the damage done to tourism.