Ryanair says it will cut German service owing to airline tax

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The Irish low-cost airline Ryanair said on Wednesday it would cut the number of flights at the Frankfurt-Hahn airport by almost 30 percent in reaction to a tax to be levied in Germany next year.

The number of weekly flights from Ryanair's base in Germany is to fall from 532 to 382 from mid 2011 and the number of destinations from 54 to 45, the airline said during a press conference in Frankfurt.

Among the destinations to be cut are Berlin, Prague and Agadir in Morocco.

Around one million fewer passengers would use the airport per year, bringing the total down to 2.9 million, and some 1,000 jobs could be affected from a total of 3,900, Ryanair estimated.

It blamed an airline tax approved by the German government which would cost between eight and 45 euros (11-62 dollars) depending on the length of the flight.

The tax is part of an austerity plan established in Berlin and is expected to raise around one billion euros per year.

Ryanair is the first carrier to announce cuts as a result of the tax, though airports and the carriers Lufthansa and Air Berlin have sharply criticised it.

© 2010 AFP

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