LONDON – Ryanair has announced that it will be cutting its schedule at Berlin Airport (BER) for winter 2022 after slamming increased airport charges in the German capital.
The Irish airline will now operate 19 fewer routes and 230 fewer weekly flights than it did in the last winter before the pandemic, the company said in a statement.
Ryanair’s rival, Easyjet has also reduced its operations at Berlin in recent months, accusing the airport of high airport fees. They have reduced the number of aircraft it had based at the capital from 18 to 11 for winter 2022.
“Higher airport costs in Berlin makes it more attractive for us to switch aircraft to lower cost alternatives elsewhere in regional Germany and Europe,” CEO Michael O’Leary told reporters in Berlin.
O’Leary added that, “other airports in Germany understand that competitive charges are necessary to support traffic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Ryanair also slammed Lufthansa, Germany’s flag carrier, calling it a “subsidy junkie” and saying that, along with prices and the high airport charges were holding back air travel from recovering in Germany and leading to less choice for people travelling in and out of the country.
O’Leary said air traffic in Germany had decreased by 28 percent in summer because of the elevated airport fees. At the same time, Ryanair had grown. Its traffic volume was at 115 percent compared to pre-pandemic times.
The airline said “it regrets” the step they had to take at Berlin, but relocating flights to other affordable regions in Germany and Europe was more beneficial.
According to Michael O’Leary, the fees at both Frankfurt Airport and BER Airport are not competitively viable, compared to other European airports.
Not the first time
In recent months, the Irish Airline also pulled off Germany’s biggest airport, Frankfurt International (FRA) due to an increase in high airport fees. 5 aircraft were relocated to other airports that have responded with lower airport charges to stimulate traffic recovery.
“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 fees, despite the collapse in traffic caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the airline announced in January of 2022.
All Ryanair flights to and from Frankfurt, were cancelled from March 31st of this year. After shutting its base in Frankfurt, Ryanair invested 200 million dollars in its Nuremberg base. It currently operates 31 routes out of the airport.
Future of their Berlin operations
Ryanair announced that it would continue to offer their fares from €24.99 to and from Berlin. Ryanair still operate 51 routes of Berlin Airport and it is unclear if these will be increased for their 2023 spring and summer schedule.
Ryanair will certainly be keeping an eye on their Berlin base for the future. With airport fees increasing in Germany, it’s uncertain to say how much longer Ryanair can last at the airport.