Ryanair is cancelling 34 weekly flights to and from Morocco following a row with the state-owned airports authority over fees.
According to the airline, ONDA is imposing a new ‘monopoly handling company’ on it that will result in a ‘massive increase’ in charges.
Consequently, Ryanair said it had ‘no alternative’ but to reduce its schedule by eight weekly frequencies at Nador, six at Fez, eight at Marrakech and four at Tangier.
It will also shut down its entire operation at Oujda Airport, with the loss of a further eight weekly frequencies.
The airline’s deputy chief executive, Michael Cawley, explained: ‘Ryanair entered into long term agreements with the Moroccan Tourism Authority and ONDA, as part of the Moroccan Govt’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 Govt 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.’
Cawley claimed the ‘substantial’ schedule reductions would result in the loss of up to 100,000 tourists and €50m expenditure a year.
The only UK routes affected are Stansted-Fez and Luton-Marrakech.