Ryanair Threatens to Axe Bordeaux Flights Over Landing Fee Dispute

Passengers walk to a Ryanair 737 parked at Bordeaux-Merignac Airport
Kevin.B, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Budget airline Ryanair is at odds with Bordeaux Airport in France, threatening to scrap their popular route altogether.

The source of the tension is airport fees that Ryanair claims have doubled, making the route unprofitable.

This potential closure could impact travelers hoping for cheap flights to Bordeaux from four UK airports.

The shutdown of its base at what is a popular holiday travel hotspot will also mean a loss of local jobs. According to the SNPNC-FO union, a closure would affect approximately 120 employment positions.

However, Bordeaux Airport refutes Ryanair’s claims about the fee structure, calling them “totally erroneous comments.”

Ryanair v Bordeaux Airport

Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, has been vocal about the airline’s position. He told AFP, “The airport I think wants to double our cost, we’re not willing to pay double the cost at Bordeaux.”

With the perceived fee hike, Ryanair argues that continuing operations at Bordeaux would not be financially viable. O’Leary intimated that the closure of the French airport base may come at the end of this year’s summer season.

Bordeaux Airport responded with regret over Ryanair’s decision to inform staff about the potential closure without prior discussions. They also strongly denied Ryanair’s claims regarding the fee structure.

A Ryanair cabin crew member exits and aircraft.
Photo Credit: Ryanair

Potential Impact on Travelers

The major European low-cost carrier currently has three aircraft based out of Bordeaux airport. Obviously, the operation is also supported by a broad range of personnel.

O’Leary’s latest statement also carried the threat that Ryanair would subsequently move their based aircraft somewhere else.

As well as impacting local employment, the possibility of flight cuts will naturally also impact air travellers.

Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport, despite the current dispute with Ryanair, is a growing air transport hub in southwestern France.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the airport celebrated reaching a significant milestone: surpassing 7.7 million passengers in 2019.

This impressive number reflected a strong decade of consecutive growth, with a network expansion from 38 destinations in 2009 to an impressive 113 destinations in 2019 – a jump of over 197%.

While passenger traffic undoubtedly dipped during the pandemic, Bordeaux Airport is now on an upward trajectory.

In the post pandemic resurgence, the airport became the eighth busiest hub in France in 2023. Last year it processed approximately 6.6 million passengers.

As such, it plays a vital role in connecting the Bordeaux region to both domestic and international destinations.

With both sides entrenched in their positions, travelers hoping for affordable flights to Bordeaux are left in limbo. If Ryanair pulls out, it could lead to a reduction in flight options and potentially higher prices.

Travelers planning a trip to Bordeaux are advised to closely monitor the situation. Staying updated on news from both Ryanair and Bordeaux Airport will help ensure you make informed decisions about your travel plans.


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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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