Ryanair To Close Frankfurt Base, Blames Higher Charges

Ryanair
Credit: Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

Citing an increase in fees and accusing the German government of protecting its legacy carriers, Irish ULCC Ryanair plans to close its Frankfurt am Main (FRA) base March 31.

The five Ryanair aircraft based at Frankfurt will now operate at airports with lower airport charges, the airline said Jan. 7

“We are disappointed to announce the closure of our Frankfurt base at the end of March 2022,” Ryanair Director of Commercial Jason McGuinness said. “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.”

The Frankfurt airport operator had just raised the charges by 4.3%.

Ryanair said it continues to invest in Germany with two additional aircraft at its Nuremberg base, but lambasted the German government in its statement, which Ryanair said, “continues to protect legacy carriers, such as Lufthansa who have soaked up €9 billion [$10.2 billion] in State aid rather than introduce non-discriminatory traffic recovery schemes open to all airlines.” 

All Ryanair Frankfurt-based pilots and cabin crew were notified Jan. 7 of the impending closure and were told they can secure alternative positions within the Ryanair network.

Ryanair established its Frankfurt base in March 2017, originally with four routes, which grew to nearly 20 destinations from FRA. Ryanair’s move in 2017 created contention with Lufthansa and leisure airline Condor as Fraport, the operator of Frankfurt Airport, lured competing carriers with wide-ranging discounts. Frankfurt’s intention was to increase the number of connections it offered as well as its competitiveness. These discounts, as planned, melted from year to year. FRA is Lufthansa and Condor´s main base.

“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,” McGuinness said. “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.”


 

Kurt Hofmann

Kurt Hofmann has been writing on the airline industry for 25 years. He appears frequently on Austrian, Swiss and German television and broadcasting…