Ryanair is cancelling large numbers of flights to Spain and reducing the frequency of other routes, especially from Madrid, Barcelona and the Canary Islands, in opposition to the increase in airport tax by the Spanish government and the lack of funding for promoting budget vacations on the Islands.
These are the most prominent routes that Ryanair have closed, with budget airline equivalents where available:
- Madrid-Frankfurt (direct TUI equivalent)
- Madrid-Manchester (direct easyJet equivalent)
- Madrid-Verona (easyJet equivalent to Venice)
- Barcelona-East Midlands (Monarch equivalent to Birmingham)
- Barcelona-Leeds ( direct Jet2 equivalent)
- Barcelona-Hamburg (no budget equivalent)
- Gran Canaria-Liverpool (no equivalent)
- Gran Canaria-Pisa (no equivalent)
- Lanzarote-Valencia (no equivalent)
- Tenerife-Porto (no equivalent)
- Fuerteventura-Edinburgh (no equivalent)
- Fuerteventura-Cork (no equivalent)
- Fuerteventura-London Luton (easyJet equivalent to London-Stansted)
- Fuerteventura-Frankfurt Hahn (no equivalent)
Ryanair has given the cancelations its typical unique spin, implying that it is Spain that will lose out. They claim the tax increase, which is approximately eight euros for flights to Spain's biggest cities, will send Ryanair passengers 'to other lower cost airports elsewhere in Europe'.
Is this true? Will passengers choose another Ryanair destination, rather than another airline? It seems to me that the days of travelers choosing their holiday destinations based on the cheapest Ryanair flights are pretty much over. Too many passengers have had mediocre vacations in Eastern Bloc cities whose names they can't pronounce, landing at remote airports where the beer costs more than it used to and the only 'sight' is a military museum and a statue of a man on a horse. Travelers choose their destination first and their airport second these days, don't they?
In fact, my most recent easyJet v Ryanair comparison found for the fourth consecutive year that Ryanair does not actually have the cheapest flights to Spain. As Ryanair finds it harder to be competitive in Spain, maybe this is the real reason they're shutting down their flights to Spain - they just can't compete?
Still, it's a shame that Ryanair have pulled out of these routes, as it particularly harms consumers' choice for flights to the Canary Islands.