Ryanair has scrapped all flights to Zaventem Airport in Brussels until at least next spring.
The budget airline said flights will be cancelled until March 2023 at the earliest due to high fuel costs and a new flight tax at the airport, with Ryanair chief executive Micheal O’Leary saying the winter would be “extremely challenging”.
Where will Brussels flights go instead?
Ryanair has two planes at Zaventem Airport and around 15 at Charleroi Airport. The planes in Zaventem and the accompanying flights will now be removed, in a decision that will take effect from the end of September.
Ryanair Brussels flights will instead be moved to Charleroi or other neighbouring countries.
Mr O’Leary confirmed that flights from Zaventem will cease because of a new flight tax at the airport, saying the charges are 300% to 400% higher at Zaventem than Charleroi.
He said the fee hikes were not conducive to the recovery of air traffic, adding that the changes would make other airports more competitive.
Speaking during a press conference in Belgium last week, Mr O’Leary said: “This winter is going to be extremely challenging, with higher fuel costs, so an increase in airport charges like in Zaventem is not sustainable.”
The airline boss added that the 80 Ryanair staff currently based in Zaventem will be moved to Charleroi or other airports in neighbouring countries, “at less cost”.
He said: “They can stay in warmer places than Brussels this winter.”
Mr O’Leary had previously hoped to expand operations at Zaventem, but the airport is now reviewing rates as the Belgian federal government in April introduced a flight tax of $2 (£1.70) to €10 (£8.70) depending on destination.
Has Ryanair cancelled any other flights?
The budget airline has confirmed it will no longer operate flights to Athens from the end of October 2022, until the end of March 2023.
This is due to the airport operator’s “dysfunctional” charging scheme and will lead to the removal of two planes, reducing scheduled flights by about two-thirds.