Irish budget carrier Ryanair is blaming the introduction of a controversial German aviation tax after deciding to cut more than a quarter of its flights from its base at Frankfurt Hahn.
The airline is to reduce its stationed fleet at Hahn from 11 Boeing 737 aircraft to eight from summer 2011 and close nine routes: Agadir, Berlin, Gdansk, Gothenburg, Klagenfurt, Prague, Santiago, Seville and Wroclaw.
It says the capacity reduction will also mean operating 382 flights per week from the airport compared with over 530 currently.
Ryanair adds that it will cut 150 pilot and cabin crew positions as a result. The airline says the new German tax of €8 ($11) makes the country an "uncompetitive tourist destination".
It will transfer the three 737s to bases outside of Germany. Ryanair says the German Government should study the "damaging impact" of similar taxes imposed elsewhere in Europe and withdraw the charges, which have also been strongly criticised by German carriers.