Ryanair leaving Brussels as a base has limited impact, airport says

Brussels Airport has responded to this afternoon’s announcement by Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary to leave Brussels Airport as a base. Two aircraft that are staying overnight at Brussels Airport will be relocated to another airport, and the Irish airline will not make use of the Belgian based crew anymore. 

The airport, however, is confident that customers traveling through Brussels will not feel the reduction of flights: “Although Ryanair’s activities contribute to the offer at Brussels Airport, there are also other airlines that offer the same destinations, with the exception of Pisa, Italy and Amman, Jordan. Brussels Airport expects that other airlines will offer their services to these destinations.”

Ryanair currently represents 8% of flights from Brussels Airport, around daily 30 flights (15 rotations) of which 10 flights (5 rotations) with Belgian based crew.

Ryanair refers for this decision to the introduction of the Belgian embarkation tax, which was introduced while the aviation sector is still fully recovering from the covid crisis. Ryanair also refers to its difficult relations with the trade unions in Belgium. And finally, Ryanair also mentioned the new airport taxes at Brussels Airport that will be introduced from April 2023. Brussels Airport has indeed consulted the airlines about this and its proposal for the rates 2023-2027 is currently being analyzed by the economic regulator.

By the end of the year, the regulator will make a decision on this. This proposal includes an increase in tariffs taking into account the sharp rise in energy prices and very high inflation, which has a significant impact on the costs of airport operations.

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