Ryanair is drastically cutting its schedule at Berlin airport (BER) for winter 2022, criticizing increased airport charges in the German capital.
The low-cost carrier said it will fly 19 fewer routes and 230 fewer flights per week in the winter. That’s equivalent to 40% fewer flights than it operated from the German capital in winter 2019.
“High airport costs in Berlin make it more attractive to base aircraft at better value airports in other areas of Germany and Europe,” Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said in a statement on October 13, 2022.
O’Leary commented that other airports in Germany “understand that competitive charges are necessary to support traffic recovery” after the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s not the first time that the low-cost carrier has criticized what it deems high charges at German airports. Ryanair closed its base at Frankfurt airport (FRA) in March 2022, citing high airport charges.
Ryanair also used the opportunity to attack Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA), Germany’s flag carrier, calling it a “subsidy junkie” and saying that the airline’s high prices, together with the high airport charges were preventing air travel from recovering in Germany and leading to less choice for tourists.
“Because of these anti-consumer price increases at airports and the massive subsidies for high-price national champion and subsidy-junkie Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA), traffic in Germany fell by 28% this summer, which makes Germany the slowest market to recover in Europe,” O’Leary continued. “Ryanair is calling on the German government and the major German airports to reduce airport charges and taxes to help traffic, tourism and jobs recover.”
Budget rival easyJet has also reduced its operations at BER in recent months, blaming slower than expected recovery and high airport fees. The airline is reducing the number of aircraft it has based at the German capital to 11 from 18 for winter 2022.