Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has blamed the Scottish Government’s failure to reduce aviation taxes for its surprise decision to close its base at Glasgow. Unveiling its winter 2018 schedule, the airline has reduced its network from the Scottish hub from 23 routes to just three – Dublin, Wrocław and Kraków – with the potential loss of up to 300 jobs.
Commenting on the move, Ryanair’s Chief Commercial Officer David O’Brien said: “We think Brexit is particularly threatening to Scotland and its economy, and particularly to the aviation industry.
“Sadly, our Glasgow base will close, about half a million of those passengers will transfer through Edinburgh. The weaker Scottish economy is even weaker in Glasgow and we simply can’t bear the air passenger duty [APD] of £13 [which is] more than a third of Ryanair’s average fare.”
He added: “This should not come as a surprise to the government, we did say that our growth in Glasgow was based on their promise to abolish APD, which morphed into a promise to half APD, which suddenly has disappeared into the ether and, quite frankly, we don’t have any more patience. There are other markets in the UK and Europe which offer a more compelling proposition.”
The carrier will, however, increase its presence at Edinburgh where it is basing an additional aircraft and adding 11 new services.