Ryanair cuts Riga services in response to new Latvian tax

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Ryanair has cut routes and frequencies to and from Riga Airport in Latvia, blaming the introduction of a €6.50 ($8.80) travel tax to be introduced by the Latvian government from 1 January.

The low-cost carrier, which has a reputation for a tough approach to negotiations with airports over fees, confirmed that it will cut 42 weekly flights to and from Riga from 12 January. This will include the closure of routes to and from Bristol and Bremen and flight cuts on eight other routes, including London, Milan and Rome.

The Irish carrier said that its decision would result in the loss of over 300,000 passengers and 300 jobs. It said passengers to and from Riga were extremely sensitive over costs and would be unwilling to pay the tax.

Earlier this year Ryanair announced that it would reduce net capacity over the second half of its financial year in a bid to counter rising fuel costs, which could leave up to 80 aircraft parked on the ground during the winter months.