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Ryanair slashes Swedish routes

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13:47 CEST+02:00
Budget airline Ryanair is to close its operation at Västerås airport and will significantly reduce its services from Malmö and Gothenburg.

In total, 21 flights to various European destinations are to be withdrawn from service, the company announced on Tuesday.

The move comes in anticipation of an increase in flight taxes in Sweden, which is currently being reviewed by the European Commission.

"We cannot wait any longer. We've got to fix our winter timetables and can't wait to see what decision the EU commission comes up with regarding the Swedish flight tax increases." said vice managing director Michael Cawley to TT.

"We had intended to increase our activity in Sweden with 10-12 new services but the decision to increase flight tax upset all our plans," he added.

The changes are to take effect from October 28th.

The tax, as agreed by Sweden's Social Democratic government and its Green and Left Party allies, will tax each passenger 94 Swedish kronor for flights within Europe, and 188 kronor for those travelling further afield.

The Swedish government pushed the levy through parliament despite protests from opposition parties, airlines, business leaders and local government. The European Commission in Brussels has launched an inquiry to see whether it breaks competition rules. It is due to take effect on August 1st.

The tax would increase the average price of Ryanair tickets in Sweden by 24 percent, according to the company.

The airline will continue flying from Stockholm's Skavsta airport.

TT/AFP/The Local

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