Ryanair will close its base at Chania in Crete and cut its Greek domestic services, complaining that airport charges at most Greek airports “encourage peak-only services”.
In a statement, the carrier said: “Ryanair will continue to operate Athens services to/from Mykonos, Santorini and Thessaloniki this summer, however all other Greek domestic services will be cancelled from June 1.”
Ryanair’s base at Chania, opened in April 2013, was its first in Greece. The airline began operating Greek domestic flights in 2014.
The carrier will switch aircraft from Chania and Athens to Germany where carriers are increasing capacity in the wake of the collapse of Air Berlin last October.
Ryanair sales and marketing manager for eastern Europe Nikolaos Lardis said: “Current airport charges at the majority of Greek airports encourage peak-only services in the summer on international routes.”
Chief commercial officer David O Brien said Ryanair had appealed to the government of Greece to lower airport charges.
He said: “We are not a philanthropic organisation. We wrote to several ministers and said ‘Look, drop the taxes in the winter and we will try to deliver the traffic’.”
Chania is one of 14 airports operated by Fraport Greece, a joint venture between German airport operator Fraport and Greek business group Copelouzos.
The airport group said: “Our priority is to serve the increased passenger traffic we are expecting at our airports this year.”