Belfast and Ryanair

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Ryanair has had a yo-yo relationship with Belfast. That relationship continued on Thursday when the airline announced a winter schedule that reduced the number of flights from the city.

Ryanair plane ascending
fewer flights will be available from Belfast International for winter 2019/2020

Years ago, the airline was at George Best Belfast City but left that in 2010 complaining of delays in lengthening the runway there. In 2016 it returned but this time to Belfast International. At the time, the airline said that it was a multi-million pound commitment. That makes it sound as though Ryanair was there – if you will forgive the pun – for the long haul.

In trumpeting the fact yesterday that, for the coming winter, the airline will have “9 routes which will deliver 850,000 customers p.a. at Belfast Airport” it made it sound as though this was good news.

Only further down in the press announcement does it say that this is a reduction in services. In truth it won’t be offering a single daily service to anywhere. Alicante. Malaga and Krakow will each get three services a week and that seems the best the airline can offer. To Manchester and Stansted there will be just two services a week hardly making it an airline for regulars!

This summer, Ryanair will have three services each day to Stansted and two each day to Manchester. The cut-back is substantial. Why the ending of services to Gdansk, Warsaw and Wroclaw in Poland and Valletta in Malta?

The answer according to the airline is “…the weak UK market and UK Air Passenger Duty…” But do not worry, fellow passengers, because we will be “…enjoying even lower fares and Ryanair’s 2019 customer care improvements…” It is obviously a new definition of “customer care improvements” when flights are withdrawn or reduced!

With no flights would customer care at Ryanair be perfect?

Ryanair has waged war on APD for years claiming that almost any reduction in flights is due to APD. That doesn’t stop it adding flights when it spots a commercial opportunity. APD has become a useful red herring to hide behind when commercial reality shows that Ryanair has got its calculations wrong.

But what do you expect from an airline when it cannot even tell you in its press release which Belfast airport it flies from and gives you an annual figure on the number of people it will fly from Belfast International yet the announcement covers only the winter part of the year!

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