Ryanair Deepens Cuts at Edinburgh as BAA Seeks to Complete Sale

Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA), Europe’s biggest discount carrier, said it would cut eight more routes at Edinburgh airport after failing to reach an agreement on fees with the terminal’s owner BAA.

Ryanair will eliminate flights to destinations including Frankfurt and Fuerteventura, Spain, from October, adding to the five routes that the carrier said in February it would remove from its summer schedule. The cuts will reduce the number of its passengers using Edinburgh by about 500,000 a year, from 1.8 million to 1.3 million, and cost 500 jobs, the Dublin-based airline said in an e-mailed statement today.

“Ryanair regrets BAA Edinburgh Airport’s rejection of our proposals for a competitive cost base which would allow Ryanair to further grow our traffic,” Deputy Chief Executive Officer Michael Cawley said in the statement. “Sadly, BAA Edinburgh seems to prefer higher costs, even if it means fewer passengers and jobs at Edinburgh.”

BAA, the owner of London’s Heathrow airport, is seeking to sell Edinburgh after losing a legal challenge to an order from the U.K.’s antitrust regulator to break up the company. The airport operator, controlled by Spain’s Ferrovial SA (FER), plans to take final bids for the airport this month and conclude a deal by the summer.

Edinburgh Airport Managing Director Jim O’Sullivan said that the carrier’s estimate of the effect on passenger numbers and jobs was “speculative,” and the airport operator was disappointed with Ryanair’s decision.

“We have tried extremely hard to negotiate with Ryanair but sadly on many issues have not been able to find common ground,” O’Sullivan said in an e-mailed statement. “We continue not to be able to accept their wish to not pay the agreed air traffic control costs that all other airlines pay.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Steve Rothwell in London at srothwell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net

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