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Ryanair to close its base at Frankfurt Am Main Airport

Ryanair has announced that it is closing its base at Frankfurt Am Main Airport on 31st March 2022.

Closing its base at Frankfurt Am Main Airport

Starting 31st March 2022, Ryanair will no longer fly from Frankfurt Am Main Airport. The low-cost carrier will allocate the 5 aircraft, which were based at the German airport, to airports that have responded with lower airport charges to stimulate traffic recovery. While no aircraft will be based in Frankfurt, flying to Frankfurt from other bases would still be possible.

Ryanair says that the reason for the closure of the base is that Frankfurt Airport has increased the airport charges. In a post COVID-19 recovery phase, airports must incentivise traffic recovery but the airline states that as Frankfurt Airport has chosen to increase the airport charges, it makes the airport “uncompetitive” with other European airports.

Ryanair is a low-cost airline and low-cost airlines need to maintain their overheads as low as possible. The airport charges are a major outgoing for airlines, and this is the main reason that low-cost carriers generally try to avoid flying in to primary airports and instead choose to fly in the secondary airports which have comparatively lower airport charges.

Jason McGuinness, Director of Commercial, Ryanair, said:

We are disappointed to announce the closure of our Frankfurt am Main base at the end of March 2022, but we have no alternative in response to a decision from the Airport to increase its airport fees, despite the collapse in traffic caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While Ryanair continues to invest in Germany (as evidenced by a $200 million investment in a new 2-aircraft base at Nuremberg Airport), the airline says that the government of Germany continues to protect legacy carriers, “such as Lufthansa who have soaked up €9 billion in State aid rather than introduce non-discriminatory traffic recovery schemes open to all airlines”.

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Jason added:

While Ryanair continues to invest in German airports who understand the requirement to lower airport charges to recover traffic, competition in the German market has been massively distorted by the €9bn of State aid that was pumped into Lufthansa, who continues to cut its fleet, connections, and jobs. Efficient operations and competitive airport fees provide the foundation from which Ryanair can deliver long-term traffic growth and increased connectivity for airports and regions. This is impossible at Frankfurt following the German Government’s decision to increase its passenger taxes, and the Airport’s decision to increase its already high and uncompetitive fees. Ryanair continues to successfully negotiate the long-term low costs required from airports to underpin Ryanair’s industry leading low fares, which is driving Ryanair’s recovery and leading Europe’s post-Covid recovery.

Ryanair says that there are a multitude of airports throughout Europe seeking to attract “the Ryanair growth” since its “competitors continue to reduce both their fleets and capacity”. The carrier says that efficient operations and competitive airport fees are key to traffic recovery post Covid and instead of incentivising Ryanair to stay and grow, Frankfurt Am Main Airport has opted to “drive away traffic and jobs” by increasing airport charges.

The airline adds that all its Frankfurt am Main based pilots and cabin crew have been notified of the base closure that will take place on 31st March 2022. All flight crew can secure alternative positions within the Ryanair network.

As for the passengers who are booked on Ryanair flights out of Frankfurt Am Main Airport from 31st March 2022, they will receive flight cancellation notifications and refunds over the coming days.

Meanwhile, Ryanair recently announced that it will open a new base at Madeira Airport, the airline’s fifth base in Portugal.

Featured image by Airport Spotting

What do you think of Ryanair closing its base at Frankfurt Am Main Airport due to the high airport charges? Let me know in the comments section below.

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