In September 2022 Ryanair announced the closure of its base at Brussels Airport in Zaventem for the winter period. At the time, the closure was foresaw until March 2023, with no guarantee of reopening for the summer season.
The airline has now confirmed it would not be reopening the base. “Despite recent rumours, we will not be reopening our Brussels Zaventem base in summer 2023 due to Zaventem Airport’s decision to increase prices by 11% for airlines and passengers from April 2023“, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said in a statement.
Back in September, O’Leary said that “on top of that stupid tax, the CEO of Brussels Airport has made the decision to raise prices”, which is why he decided to close the base. The same problems are cited again, with the airport and airline failing to reach an agreement.
“Ryanair refers to the fact that they couldn’t reach an agreement with Brussels Airport to turn back the price increase”, said Hans Elsen, representing the ACV Puls union, denouncing the “unfair competition between Charleroi and Brussels, both Belgian airports.”
The airline called Brussels Airport uncompetitive compared to other European airports that lowered prices in hopes of recovering business lost during the pandemic, but Elsen said Ryanair is just taking advantage of lower fares at smaller airports, which, at Brussels’ South airport, in Charleroi, are unrealistically low.
Although the base is closed, only the two aircraft previously permanently stationed at Brussels Airport will stop operations, with other Ryanair flights, serviced by planes stationed at bases outside Belgium, still available. Passengers will still be able to book Ryanair flights from Brussels Airport to 12 destinations: Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, Girona, Madrid, Malaga, Mallorca, Marrakesh, Pisa, Porto, Rome and Valencia.
The schedules for the Charleroi airport are not affected. “Ryanair’s flights on 109 routes to/from Charleroi will be unaffected by this decision and we look forward to welcoming millions of Belgian customers/visitors onboard our flights to/from both Brussels Charleroi and Zaventem Airports this Summer”, added O’Leary.
The closure at Brussels Airport means 59 people are losing their jobs. Unions are urging the airline to adhere to the Renault procedure, which states that a company implementing a collective redundancy must allow staff enough time to search for alternative offers.