Prestwick airport is losing a popular flight and Northern Ireland will no longer benefit from the daily visit of Ryanair Airline, as they have veered from the plan to remain in Belfast City. News of the departure have been described as possibly devastating to the Ayrshire hub, which has lost around 20 per cent of its passengers to Ryanair scaling back its operation over the past year.
This major news is due to an apparent delay to a planned runway extension at Belfast City. Although the airline claims the planned runway extension delay is the reason for stoppage of flights to Northern Ireland, others within the industry locally believe otherwise. The retreat was part of Ryanair’s strategy of focusing on more lucrative routes to mainland Europe at the expense of short haul flights within the UK, has been a popular opinion.
Brian Donohoe, MP of Central Ayrshire, described being disappointed at the decision, but remarked: “It’s not entirely unexpected. It fits with Ryanair’s strategy of downsizing the number of routes being flown in the UK in order to concentrate on longer routes to mainland Europe. I wouldn’t want to see any further deterioration in the level of service at Prestwick and will be asking the Scottish Government to reconsider offering airlines incentives.”
Ryanair describes its losses of the daily flight no longer existing by saying, 50 jobs would be lost, one million passengers annually, as well as 1000 support roles around the airport would not be needed.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair chief executive, commented on other airports being more accommodating, saying: “In the circumstances, sadly, we have better alternative airports elsewhere in the UK and Europe, all of whom are willing and able to provide us with the runway infrastructure and low-cost facilities we need in order to operate our lowest-fare flights immediately, safely and profitably.”