Ryanair will close its Dusseldorf base in October after the German airport’s operator and a ground handling provider refused to lower their fees.
All Ryanair flights at the airport after 24 October – the end of the summer schedule – have been cancelled and more than 200 pilots and flight attendants stationed in Dusseldorf will be made redundant, the airline says.
Ryanair says the closure is “a direct result of Dusseldorf airport’s refusal to lower its very high fees due to the Covid-19 crisis, as well as a recent demand from monopoly handler Acciona for an immediate 30% price increase”.
The carrier argues: “Increased German aviation taxes and… the state-subsidised Lufthansa monopoly make it impossible for Ryanair to operate profitably in Dusseldorf this winter and at the same time offer the low tariffs that are necessary to stimulate traffic again”.
In the process of that conflict, Ryanair changed Laudamotion’s status – which had conducted flights under its Lauda brand and own flight numbers – to that of a wet-lease operator for flights under the parent’s branding.
Ryanair commercial director Jason McGuinness states that the airline regrets the job losses but has “no alternative” in response to Acciona’s “outrageous demand” and the airport’s refusal to reduce fees.
He says that competition in Germany has been “massively distorted” by the state’s €9 billion ($10.5 billion) bailout for Lufthansa Group, “while at the same time the German government is increasing its air traffic tax and its monopoly airports are refusing to lower their very high and uncompetitive charges”.
On 4 September, Ryanair announced additional routes from Weeze airport for the winter season.
That regional airport is located close to Dutch-German border, approximately 80km northwest of Dusseldorf.