Posted on: 01 June 2016 by Mark Howells
Ryanair says that from 29 October it will be forced to close its Oslo Rygge base and reduce its Norwegian traffic by 50% after the Norwegian Government confirmed the introduction of what the airline describes as “an environmentally unfriendly tax, which will damage Norwegian tourism, traffic and jobs”.
The Norwegian Government has introduced an NOK80 tax on all departing passengers. Ryanair says that as a result, it has been left with no choice but to close its Oslo Rygge base from 29 October 2016; cancel 16 routes; reduce its Norwegian traffic by 50% (900,000 passengers); move four aircraft and Ryanair jobs out of Norway to other Ryanair bases; switch its London Stansted and Vilnius routes to Oslo Gardermoen; and switch the remaining eight Oslo Rygge routes to Oslo Torp, since Oslo Rygge has advised it cannot sustain reduced operations.
In Oslo, Ryanair’s chief commercial officer David O’Brien explained, “The illogical decision of the Norwegian Government to introduce a flat rate environmentally unfriendly tax unfairly penalises passengers on efficient, green, airlines such as Ryanair in favour of passengers on high-fare, half-empty, gas guzzling airlines, and destroys the cost competitiveness of privately owned Oslo Rygge Airport in favour of the state owned Avinor monopoly. As a result, Ryanair has no choice but to close its Oslo Rygge base which will result in our Norwegian traffic being cut in half. Since Oslo Rygge has confirmed it will be unable to sustain reduced non-based services offered by Ryanair, we will move our remaining eight Rygge routes to Oslo Torp from 30 October.
“We will also move our London route to Oslo Gardermoen – where we avail of a low-cost agreement at Stansted – which will increase to a three times daily service and our daily Vilnius service will also switch to Gardermoen, from 30 October. We will then move our Rygge-based aircraft, pilots and cabin crew to other bases in Ryanair’s 33 country network. This retrograde tax will result in the loss of 1,000 jobs for Oslo Rygge.
“This tax will severely damage Norwegian tourism, particularly around regional airports,” O’Brien added. “The Norwegian Government has instantly made Norway uncompetitive and less attractive to airlines and tourists. The Italian Government, which hiked passenger taxes in January, has already said it will review its decision, given the impact its tax will have on its airports. Sadly, the Norwegian Government have chosen to sacrifice 1,000 jobs at Oslo Rygge for reasons which defy explanation. This is a black day for Oslo Rygge, for Norway and for Norwegian tourism.”