Irish low fares airline, Ryanair, will wrap up its summer 2016 schedule in Greece two months earlier than originally planned, according to the carrier’s chief commercial officer, David O’Brien.
Speaking to Greek newspaper Vima, Mr O’Brien said that the company was “forced” to take this decision because of the government’s intention to impose new taxes on the Greek tourist product in order for international lenders to finish their review of Greek reforms (needed to unblock further credit to Athens and start debt relief negotiations).
Mr O’Brien said that since the beginning of 2014, the Greek government has ignored all of Ryanair’s proposals to increase passenger traffic to Greece. “We have sent 25 letters over the last two years and have received only three answers, but in all of them there is no response, positive or negative, to our proposals”, he informed.
The proposals made by the airline include Ryanair bringing an additional two million passengers to Athens and an additional 3.5 million to the country’s regional airports (two million during the low season in 2018) in exchange for reduced fees and taxes during the months of the low season.
Another request was for Greece’s regional airports to be exempted from the “modernization and development tax” — the so-called spatosimo. Ryanair also requested for the spatosimo tax charged at Athens airport to be slashed by 50 percent.
Imposed on airline tickets since 1992, the spatosimo tax currently stands at 12 euros for European Union passengers flying to any airport in Greece and 24 euros for non-European Union travelers. The tax is charged for the modernization or construction of airports in Greece.
“It is better to have passengers without taxes than taxes without passengers”, Mr O’Brien told Vima.
Ryanair’s early shut down of its summer flight schedule will result to the Greek market losing eight flights a day, two months earlier.