Ryanair has confirmed that it will close its Frankfurt am Main base on March 31, 2022, and “has reallocated these five aircraft to airports that have responded with lower airport charges to stimulate traffic recovery.”
In a statement, Ryanair said: “In a post Covid recovery phase, airports must incentivise traffic recovery, unfortunately Frankfurt instead of providing traffic recovery incentives, has chosen to increase prices even further, making Frankfurt uncompetitive with European airports.
“While Ryanair continues to invest in Germany (as evidenced by a $200m investment in a new two aircraft Nuremberg base), the German Govt continues to protect legacy carriers, such as Lufthansa who have soaked up €9bn in State aid rather than introduce non-discriminatory traffic recovery schemes open to all airlines.”
Frankfurt airport operator Fraport told Reuters it had introduced an “extremely moderate” increase in fees.
“Many partners see it as fair. Everyone is treated equally, there are no special rights,” a spokesperson for Fraport said.
Ryanair added: “There are a multitude of airports throughout Europe seeking to attract this Ryanair growth since our competitors continue to reduce both their fleets and capacity.
“Efficient operations and competitive airport fees are key to traffic recovery post Covid and instead of incentivising Ryanair to stay and grow, Frankfurt have opted to drive away traffic and jobs by increasing airport charges.
“Regrettably all Ryanair Frankfurt am Main based pilots and cabin crew have today received notification of the base closure at the end of March 2022.
“All flight crew can secure alternative positions within the Ryanair network, since Ryanair is leading Europe’s post-Covid recovery as it accelerates growth (in jobs and traffic) with the delivery of 210 aircraft.
“All Ryanair passengers impacted by these flight cancellations will receive notifications and refunds over the coming days.”
Ryanair’s Director of Commercial Jason McGuinness 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 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.”