DALLAS – Ryanair (FR) has announced via its corporate website the closure of its Frankfurt am Main (FRA) base on March 31, 2022. The five aircraft currently stationed at FRA will be relocated to airports with lower charges to stimulate traffic recovery.

The FRA base was opened in the summer of 2017, with the launch of several leisure routes. It was a strategy that surprised a number of experts, considering FR’s tendency to operate at non-principal airports and considering its presence at Frankfurt Hann (HHN).

The move from the Irish carrier comes in response to the airport fees increase at Germany’s busiest airport. With the consequence of, as depicted in the airline’s release, making Frankfurt uncompetitive with European airports.

Contrarily, Frankfurt airport operator Fraport stated it introduced a rise of fees describable as “extremely moderated”. Also, the airport underlines how the increase serves the sole purpose of balancing Germany’s current inflation rates.

Pilots and cabin crew based in Frankfurt received today notification of the base closure and the invitation to secure alternative positions within the Ryanair network.

Air Traffic at FRA. Photo: Frankfurt Airport

Ryanair and the German Market

At present, FR counts seven bases in Germany including the two Frankfurt airports. The company is showing interest in continuing to invest in Germany, with a new base in Nuremberg that will host two aircraft (a US$200m investment).

On the other hand, Yahoo Finance reports that the Irish carrier does not appear to gently let the German Government’s decision to increase airport taxes go under the radar. Alongside its long-lasting battle over the bailout given to Lufthansa (LH) by Germany’s Economy Stabilization Fund.

Ryanair’s director of Commercial Jason McGuinness said, “While Ryanair continues to invest in German airports who understand the requirement to lower airport charges to recover traffic, competition in the German market has been massively distorted by the €9bn of State aid that was pumped into Lufthansa, who continues to cut its fleet, connections, and jobs.”

McGuinness added, “Efficient operations and competitive airport fees provide the foundation from which Ryanair can deliver long-term traffic growth and increased connectivity for airports and regions. This is impossible at Frankfurt following the German Government’s decision to increase its passenger taxes, and the Airport’s decision to increase its already high and uncompetitive fees.”

Featured image: Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Fraport Group