Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Ryanair pulls flights in protest

Blackpool Airport
Ryanair said it advised the airport against the additional charge

Budget airline Ryanair is to pull all of its services out of Blackpool Airport in protest at the introduction of a new 10 passenger charge.

The airport development fee (ADF) will be payable by all passengers over 16-years-old departing from Blackpool from 5 January.

The move has prompted Ryanair to axe its daily flights to Dublin and its Girona service.

A Ryanair spokesman said: "This is a black day for Blackpool Airport."

The ADF is being brought in to create funding and "get more passengers through the door", said a spokesman for the airport.

'Regressive step'

In a bid to balance the extra ADF costs all parking charges, for up to 15 days, are to be lifted from the new year.

The additional revenue will be used to fund a 2m development plan to upgrade runways, taxi-ways and the apron to improve customer facilities.

Michael Cawley, the airline's deputy chief executive, said: "The management's decision, against Ryanair's advice, to introduce an airport development fee is an extremely regressive step which inevitably involves a massive increase in the cost of travel for passengers through the airport."

More than 1.3m passengers have used the airport with Ryanair since the routes were launched in May 2003.

David Kershaw, the airport's chief executive, said: "We have announced a major investment plan that will secure the future of Blackpool International and help it grow into a thriving international gateway to Lancashire.

"Funds from the Airport Development Fee will support continued investment from the owners to improve facilities and help attract new airlines which in turn will increase route choice for our passengers."

Ryanair will stop flights from the airport on 4 January.

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