Ryanair says UK airports are at 'enormous disadvantage' because of air passenger duty

Ryanair has warned that UK airports are at a ‘huge disadvantage’ due to the air passenger duty (APD). Jason McGuinness, the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer, said that many airports outside London are being ‘hamstrung’ as the tax hinders growth in flight capacity.

Economy passengers for UK departures are charged an APD of £6.50 for domestic flights and £13 for short-haul trips. The rate increases for longer flights and passengers travelling in premium cabins.

Mr McGuinness stated: “We’re working closely with some of these small regional UK airlines, the likes of Norwich, Exeter, Teesside.”

He added: “But to be honest, they’re at an enormous disadvantage now versus their European competitors.”

He explained that Ryanair allocates capacity based on cost alone. They have long-term deals with Dubrovnik and Tangier, their two new bases.

He questioned whether to put capacity into those bases or into places like Exeter or Teesside where there is a £13 departure penalty on passengers.

He concluded: “The answer is clear, we’re not going to do that because we are quite sensible in the way we allocate capacity.”

He warned that while London will always be fine, the UK APD is causing significant damage to regional UK airports. He predicted this situation would worsen over the coming years as European airports become more competitive.

The Treasury was asked for a comment.


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