'Serious Concerns About The Decisions Taken By Ryanair', Sturgeon Tells MSPs

28 September 2017, 15:30

Flight

Ryanair's decision to axe five Scottish routes over the winter is "deeply regrettable", the First Minister has said.

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government was writing to the Irish budget carrier to set out its "serious concerns" about the latest announcement.

The airline is cutting an extra 18,000 flights in a move that will hit 400,000 customers, with 34 routes suspended between November and March 2018.

Among them are several popular routes used by travellers from Scotland, including London Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Edinburgh to Szczecin, Glasgow to Las Palmas and Hamburg to Edinburgh.

The move is part of efforts to end a wave of cancellations that has already seen 2,000 flights grounded, after the firm miscalculated pilot leave.

Speaking during First Minister's Questions at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said the latest announcement was "deeply regrettable".

She said: "I have serious concerns about the decisions taken by Ryanair in the last couple of days.

"These will cause disruption to many passengers travelling to and from Scotland to London and indeed to other destinations across Europe.

"The Transport Minister is writing to Ryanair to pass on these concerns."

Ms Sturgeon said the government backed the Civil Aviation Authority's action against the airline for "persistently misleading" passengers.

She said: "We also fully support the Civil Aviation Authority's launch of enforcement action because it's vital at time of disruption that airlines provide full and accurate information to passengers about the rights that they have."

The issue was raised as the first minister came under fresh pressure from the Greens to ditch a planned cut to Air Departure Tax (ADT).

The party has published a poll showing three out of four Scots would rather spending on everyday public transport was prioritised.

Co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP said the research demonstrated the planned cut was "unwanted, unnecessary and unsupported".