Northern Ireland

Ryanair cuts flights from Belfast International Airport

Ryanair plane Image copyright Reuters

Ryanair is cutting the number of flights it operates from Belfast International Airport.

It is dropping its three Polish routes to Gdansk, Warsaw and Wroclaw as well as flights to Malta.

The airline is also reducing the number of flights it operates to London Stansted and Manchester airports.

It said it is reducing its 2019 winter schedule at Belfast International Airport due to the "weak UK market" and UK Air Passenger Duty (APD).

APD is effectively a tax charged on all passenger flights from UK airports.

'Disappointed by cuts'

A consultation on APD in Northern Ireland formed part of the Democratic Unionist Party's (DUP) confidence and supply deal with the Conservatives in 2017.

The government has only committed to setting up a "technical working group" to examine APD.

Ryanair's chief commercial officer David O'Brien said: "Regrettably, at a time of high fuel costs, low fares, and a weak UK market, Ryanair's Belfast services will be reduced, pending the abolition of APD in Northern Ireland."

Flights to London Stansted and Manchester will reduce from three and two times daily to twice weekly services.

A spokesperson for Belfast International Airport said that it was "disappointed in the reduction of service but fully understands the reasons" for Ryanair's decision.

"The airline can make a greater commercial return across the breadth of their European network where they don't have the taxation disadvantage posed by APD."