Could Ryanair cut Derry to London flights?

City of Derry Airport. DER0414JM038
City of Derry Airport. DER0414JM038

Fears are growing that Ryanair could cut flights out of City of Derry airport in the near future, following the UK vote to leave the European Union.

Yesterday the low cost airline revealed that the next two years could see it focus more on growth at EU airports and pivot their growth away from UK airports.

A spokesperson from Ryanair said: “This winter we will cut capacity and frequency on many London Stansted routes (although no routes will close) where we are already significantly ahead of our multi-year traffic growth targets.”

However, the airline said it was too early to determine the impact this will have on City of Derry Airport.

“Until some clarity emerges over the next two years about the UK’s long term political and economic relationships with the EU, we will be unable to predict what effect it will have on our business and regulatory environment, but we have contingency plans in place for all eventualities,” the spokesperson added.

Derry based economist Paul Gosling said it sounded like Ryanair will continue to operate out of City of Derry Airport, but with fewer flights.

“We already have less flights than we would like and inward flights are often too early in the morning to maximise demand.” he said. “Ryanair is keen that the UK cuts or abolishes air passenger duty and had warned that Brexit would damage Ryanair’s investment in UK routes.

“We need to urge the Northern Ireland Executive to take devolved powers over all air passenger duty - they already have it over long haul flights - and use this power to abolish the duty on Northern Ireland flights, given our dependence on flights in NI and the vulnerability of demand transfer to airports in the Republic where the equivalent tax was abolished. For the time being there is nothing that we can do about the uncertainty caused by Brexit. Presumably Ryanair believes that Brexit will reduce demand for flights into and out of the UK.”

A spokesperson from City of Derry Airport said it would continue to liaise directly with Ryanair regarding its future plans. The 2016 winter schedule will see Ryanair operate nine weekly services from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted Airport, these flights are currently on sale and can be booked via www.ryanair.com

In relation to Brexit, the spokesperson for CODA said that it continues to work closely with a number of airport and aviation industry groups including the Aerodrome Operators’ Association to articulate the impact that Brexit will have on the aviation industry.