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Ryanair to shut Crete base, limit Greek flights in airport fare protest

AFP logoAFP 4/11/2018

Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair on Wednesday said it would shut down its base on the popular Greek tourist island of Crete to protest airport charges.

The Dublin-based group said it would also reduce its domestic Greek flights from June 1, the start of the busy travel season.

"Regrettably, current airport charges at the majority of Greek airports encourage peak-only services in the summer on international routes, which require (fewer) aircraft in Greece," Nikolaos Lardis, Ryanair sales manager for the Eastern Mediterranean, said in a statement.

No specific detail was given on the charges in question.

"Two aircraft will therefore be transferred from Greece to Germany where they can achieve superior utilisation on a year round basis," Lardis added.

Ryanair will continue to operate Athens services to top tourist island destinations Mykonos and Santorini during the summer, in addition to Thessaloniki, but all other Greek services will be cancelled.

This will affect connections from Athens to Chania airport on Crete and Rhodes, and Chania to Thessaloniki, the company said.

Four low frequency flights from Chania to Katowice, Memmingen, Venice Treviso and Vilnius will also be scrapped, the no-frills airline said, noting that it remained open to talks with airport operators to sustain year round services.

Chania airport is run by German operators Fraport, who said on Wednesday that Ryanair is a "strategic partner" in nine of out of the 14 airports managed by the company under a 2015 privatisation deal.

"Fraport Greece respects Ryanair's operational needs and choices," said George Vilos, executive director of commercial and business development.

Fraport's holdings include the airports of Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu.

burs-jph/bmm

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