Belfast Telegraph

Ryanair to cut 1,600 flights from Dublin next year

By Pol o Conghaile

Ryanair is to reduce seats from Dublin due to a fall-off in UK visitors and the airport becoming "uncompetitive", it says. The airline, which this week launched new routes to Spain and Germany from Belfast International, is switching 3% of its seats away from Dublin.

The company claimed airport owner Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) had "withdrawn growth incentives".

It also cited a post-Brexit drop in UK visitor numbers in its decision. It said 12 million seats will be offered from Dublin in 2017, a reduction of approximately 300,000 passengers - or 1,600 flights - on this year.

Dublin Airport, however, says its growth incentive scheme remains in place.

"Ryanair's growth at Dublin Airport over the past three years has been supported by a range of incentive schemes, most notably the growth incentive scheme, which remains in place," it said.

The growth incentive scheme pays a rebate in airport charges to airlines that grow their overall business at Dublin, and is open to all scheduled airlines at Dublin Airport.

Since 2011, Dublin Airport has paid €34.2m (£28.8m) in airport charges rebates to airlines under the scheme, according to DAA.

Separate incentive schemes are also available to promote new routes.

Despite DAA confirming that the scheme remains in place, however, Ryanair says it has not been able to get a guarantee that it will continue into 2017.

Kenny Jacobs, the airline's chief marketing officer, said the airport was "becoming uncompetitive".

"It incentivises Ryanair to switch growth to other lower cost airports in Europe," he said.

The airline launched its first flights from Belfast International to Berlin this week, along with links to Milan Bergamo and Spain. Later this year it will also introduce new routes to the Polish destinations of Gdansk, Krakow, Warsaw and Wroclaw.

Belfast Telegraph