“We have good and bad news for Greece. The good news is that we add four new routes from Athens airport in winter 2017. Unfortunately, Ryanair will make a reduction of Athens traffic by 22% for the winter 2017,” the Commercial director of low cost airline, David O’ Brien, told Greek news website newmoney.gr
Reason for the cuts are delays in the construction works at the runway of Thessaloniki airport and the absence of response by the Greek government to Ryanair’s development proposals.
“The situation in Greece is chaotic and any programming can be reversed at any time,” O Brien said adding “Only a few days after we announced last September the increase of available positions in Thessaloniki by 14% for summer 2017, the temporary closure of the runway in Macedonia airport was announced, something that would cause the reduction of the flights capacity.”
According to O’ Brien, Rynair reduced the flights to Thessaloniki for next summer but then “in December the government announced that the runway will operate as usual.”
Newmoney.gr notes that the flights cuts come at a time when tour operators speak of a large tourism increase in 2017, with a high demand in bookings and the consequent increase of the available seats by all airlines.
The website stresses that the cuts are part of the usual “aggressive” policy of Ryanair towards Greece.
Ryanair’s aggressive policy is nothing new. The low cost airline has been pushing for tax and fee exceptions from the Athens Airport.
O’ Leary had said that Greece elected “a bunch of lunatics”. In an outburst of what it seemed solidarity with EU taxpayers, O’Leary said “You can’t be bloody retiring, sitting in a cafe drinking coffee and expecting the Germans or the Irish or the Portuguese to pay for you.”
At the same time, Ryanair tried for one more time to take advantage of the Greek economic situation and said that it would join the initiative of Athens airport Eleftherios Venizelos to offer very cheap tickets from €0-€10 for the month of July, if Ryanair is exempted from free and airport taxes.