The Irish budget airline Ryan Air will pull out its operation in Northern Ireland. The company blames the United Kingdom for refusal to scrap or revise the air carrier’s passenger tax.
The UK’s passenger taxes and lack of the Covid-19 recovery incentives is the major reason behind the budget carrier pulling its operations out of Northern Ireland. In a statement released on August 24, 2021, the air carrier confirmed it would stop flying from Belfast City and Belfast Int’l from September 13 and October 30.
In a released statement by Ryanair, the budget carrier revealed their intentions to operate from lower-cost airports elsewhere in the UK and Europe for the winter travel schedules starting in November.
The Irish budget carrier also had ceased its operation in Belfast and Derry in a row with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority CAA) in December 2020.
UK Government’s Aviation
The UK Government imposes taxation of about $18 on each departing passenger on short-haul flights of 3,200 km and about $112 for the longer return flights with even higher rates for the premium class cabins. As the aviation industry received a huge blow due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 drowning the industry with losses and huge debts, the increased longer haul charges made it quite difficult for the airlines to operate under the low air travel demand market.
The airports and airlines operating in Northern Ireland are subjected to considerably huge tax in the current market of the aviation industry. Thus Ryanair, including other carriers with UK-based operations, have been lobbying for the cut or end to the APD. The Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, even called out for tax to be suspended for two or three years until the air traffic returns to its pre-pandemic state back in June 2021.
Departure from the Belfast
The budget carrier currently operates on eight seasonal destinations from Belfast City and six from the Belfast Int’l, providing 38 flight services from Belfast City and 13 from Belfast Int’l on a weekly basis. The Irish carrier pulling out its services from Belfast City means that it will lose eight routes, Alicante, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona El Prat, Ibiza, and Valencia Manises in Spain. Similarly, other routes like Faro in Portugal and Milan Bergam9o in Italy. According to the, the Belfast Int’l Airport will also lose six routes, including Alicante & Malaga in Spain, Gdansk, Krakow & Warsaw Modin in Poland, and Milano Bergamo in Italy Ch-aviation.
On the departure note of Ryanair, the Belfast Int’l Airport said that they are disappointed that Ryanair decided to withdraw its operation from9 the entire Northern Ireland market at the end of October at the period when the consumers need some faith and stability in Northern Ireland air transport network. The Irish budget carrier has been involved with the three local airports at Belfast.
The spokesperson on behalf of Belfast further added that the move of Ryanair deciding to pull out of Northern Ireland wasn’t unexpected. The airport had been anticipating such moves and had already been engaged with the existing airlines and new potential airlines to provide continuity on Ryanair’s routes. The move was deemed necessary to help sustain employment in the aviation industry at a local level in Northern Ireland. The Irish airline’s previous cancelation on its operation in Belfast and Londonderry may have to do something with the Belfast turning to the new direction to fill the void left by Ryanair’s cancellation.
Irish airline was Northern Ireland’s fourth-largest operator in terms of seats, following down the major fishes in the industry like EasyJet, Aer Lingus, and British Airways for 12 months ending August 2021. Operating in the holiday destinations, the Irish carrier’s biggest destination flight from Northern Ireland was Malaga; the airline had been scheduled to operate over 143 flights from Northern Ireland, offering more than 27,000 seats.