Irish ultra-low-cost carrier Ryanair has decided not to reopen its Brussels Zaventem base over the airport’s move to raise prices.

The airport is set to increase prices by 11% from April this year.

According to the Irish carrier, this decision by Zaventem Airport could make it more uncompetitive than other Belgian and European Union (EU) airports.

It added that many EU airports are reducing the prices or freezing charges to help air traffic recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, Ryanair said that it will continue to operate 12 routes to/from Brussels Zaventem on aircraft based outside Belgium.

The airline noted that its flights to/from Charleroi will not be impacted by the decision to shut its Zaventem base.

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It expects to operate 109 routes to/from Brussels Charleroi.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said: “Despite recent rumours, we will not be re-opening our Brussels Zaventem base in S23 due to Zaventem Airport’s decision to increase prices by 11% for airlines and passengers from April 2023.

“However, customers can still book Ryanair’s low fares on 12 Zaventem routes that will continue to operate to/from Brussels Zaventem for S23 on aircraft based outside Belgium.

“Ryanair’s flights on 109 routes to/from Charleroi will be unaffected by this decision and we look forward to welcoming millions of Belgian customers/visitors onboard our flights to/from both Brussels Charleroi and Zaventem Airports this summer.”

According to Belgian press agency Belga, the decision to close the Brussels base could risk 59 jobs.

Denouncing the decision, ACV Puls union secretary Hans Elsen told Belga that the move is a ‘bizarre form of competition between Charleroi and Brussels Airport’.

He further stated that “Ryanair is cleverly exploiting them to make a profit.”