Ryanair calls new tax ‘black day’ for Norway and closes Oslo base

Traffic to be reduced by half after government introduces passenger excise

Ryanair claimed the ‘retrograde tax’ would result in the loss of 900,000 passengers per annum

Ryanair claimed the ‘retrograde tax’ would result in the loss of 900,000 passengers per annum

 

Ryanair has said it is to close its base in Oslo and reduce its Norwegian traffic by half due to the introduction of an air travel tax by the Norwegian government.

The tax of NOK80 (€8.59) per passenger became effective on Wednesday. It is imposed on both domestic flights and international flights departing from Norway. The government expects to raise an additional NOK1 billion from the tax during 2016.

In a statement, Ryanair said the introduction of the “environmentally unfriendly” tax was “a black day for Oslo Rygge, for Norway, and for Norwegian tourism”.

It claimed the “retrograde tax” would damage Norwegian tourism, traffic, and result in the loss of 900,000 passengers per annum and 1,000 jobs for Oslo Rygge.

Ryanair chief commercial officer David O’Brien said the airline’s base in Rygge would close on October 29th.

The move will mean the cancellation of 16 routes: Beziers, Brussels, Chania, Dublin, Edinburgh, Malaga, Palma, Poznan, Pula, Riga, Rzescow, Thessaloniki, Sczecin, Talinn, Wroclaw, and Zadar.

“All airlines operating in Norway had repeatedly warned of the damage this tax would have on Norwegian air travel and tourism and had urged the Norwegian Government to scrap their plans,” said Mr O’Brien.

“Governments in Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands had already scrapped similar taxes and returned to growth.

“Sadly, despite these warnings, the Norwegian government has destroyed the competitiveness of Oslo Rygge, an independent, profitable airport.”

Mr O’Brien said the move would “destroy” the cost competitiveness of the privately owned Oslo Rygge Airport in favour of the state-owned Avinor.

“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,” he said.

“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 October 30th.

“This tax will severely damage Norwegian tourism, particularly around regional airports. The Norwegian government has instantly made Norway uncompetitive and less attractive to airlines and tourists.”

The airline will also move its routes from London Stansted and Vilnius, Lithuania, to Norway’s Gardermoen, and increase the former to a three times daily service.

It will then move its Rygge-based aircraft, pilots and cabin crew to other bases in its 33 country network.

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