No-frills carrier Ryanair is to cut routes to and from Morocco in a row over airport charges.
The carrier claimed the Moroccan government’s airports authority ONDA had “reneged” on an agreement “by imposing a new monopoly handling company on Ryanair which would have resulted in a massive increase in charges for the airline”.
Ryanair said it would cut a total of 34 weekly flights (adding up to 250,000 passengers per year) from October 1. Routes which will be cancelled include Stansted to Fez and Valencia to Marrakech, while flights between Luton and Marrakech will be reduced to twice weekly.
Michael Cawley, Ryanair’s deputy chief executive, said: “Ryanair entered into long-term agreements with the Moroccan Tourism Authority and ONDA, as part of the Moroccan government’s five-year plan to grow tourism.
“Ryanair has spectacularly over-delivered on all its undertakings under these agreements, becoming Morocco’s second largest airline and ensuring the Moroccan government achieved its five year targets within an earlier timescale.
“It is regrettable that ONDA has now lost sight of the key to the success of our partnership, offering low fares based on low costs.
“Ryanair cannot accept cost increases as it seeks to deliver more growth to Morocco. It is completely unacceptable for ONDA to increase the cost of Ryanair’s operation in Morocco and unrealistic for them to expect us to continue to grow our business in that context.”