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Ryanair demands Belgium reduce taxes to protect tourism

Credit: Belga

Low-cost airline Ryanair has demanded the Belgian government reduce certain taxes to protect tourism “and thousands of jobs.”

“Instead of wasting €290m of taxpayers’ money on bailing out German-owned Brussels Airlines” through what Ryanair asserts to be illegal state aid, “Ryanair calls on the Belgian Government to take immediate action to reduce airport and landing charges that will help protect vital air transport links,” they said on Wednesday.

The airline operates in Belgium at Zaventem and Charleroi airports.

The state aid Ryanair refers to involves an agreement on the rescue of Brussels Airlines, a subsidiary of German group Lufthansa, with Belgium promising a loan of €290 million, while Lufthansa is to invest €170 million in the Belgian company.

“The Belgian Government should support passenger incentive schemes at Charleroi and Zaventem airports, available to all airlines on an equal basis to restore and grow traffic” from the summer, Ryanair continued.

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In the face of the coronavirus crisis, which has drastically reduced travel, Ryanair has already made around 3,000 people redundant across Europe and at least 176 permanent jobs are on the line in Belgium.

In the absence of an agreement on a reduction in cabin crew wages, “we can unfortunately expect further job cuts before the end of January,” warned Eddie Wilson, the company boss, in a letter sent to the flying crew at the beginning of January.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

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