Airport International News - June 2007
Stansted Landing Fees Prompt Ryanair Withdrawal Threat
Posted by Paul Fiddian on 21/06/2007 - 17:02:20
A row over runway landing fees has incited the airline Ryanair into threatening a partial withdrawal from London Stansted Airport; its principal hub. Stansted’s position of importance to Ryanair is such that it led to its Chief Executive Officer, Michael O’Leary, stating in 2006 that it could be thought of as a UK airline.
A spokesman from the firm stated that, unless BAA reduces its landing fees, Ryanair – Europe’s largest budget airline – would begin to pull aircraft away from Stansted. This ultimatum was issued earlier on the week, alongside a linked warning that increased airport costs and hikes in taxes were impacting negatively on levels of demand from UK travellers.
Ryanair is making both BAA and the government culpable for a plummet, in recent times, of its passenger load factor (relating to how many seats on its aircraft are occupied). According to the carrier, the twin pressures of doubled air passenger duty (to £10), and Stansted landing fees, which have increased two-fold, have resulted in a drop in demand as these charges are, out of necessity, absorbed into ticket prices.
Regarding the matter, Mr O’Leary stated: 'We will take some flights and aircraft out of Stansted this winter if there is no movement on these high costs. Passengers are suffering a double-whammy.' In relation to the aircraft withdrawal in real terms, he cited a figure of 10 per cent of Ryanair’s 40-strong aircraft fleet that would potentially leave Stansted.
Analysts have pointed out that Stansted operates a rigid system of arrivals/departures slots throughout a typical day; deducing from this that Ryanair’s withdrawal would be another airline’s rapid gain. A further issue mentioned is the airline’s reliance on Stansted, which, analysts claim, Ryanair cannot afford to give up; a factor well-known to BAA.
Source - Airport International Newsdesk
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