French routes axed in Ryanair overhaul

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The Independent Online

Ryanair is axing two French routes popular with expat Brits and holiday-home owners as part of an overhaul of its network to weed out unprofitable routes.

The airline said it would stop flying from Stansted to Rheims and Clermont Ferrand in France, Maastricht in the Netherlands and Ostend in Belgium. It will instead start routes to Bari in southern Italy, Jerez in Spain, Erfut in Germany and Linz in Austria in January. Ryanair is now serving 71 destinations from Stansted.

Michael O'Leary, the airline's chief executive, has repeatedly warned that Ryanair would axe any unprofitable routes, regardless of opposition from Brits who took advantage of the availability of cheap flights to lesser known destinations in France to buy holiday homes.

Mr O'Leary also said Ryanair would soon announce a new European hub for 2004, but he declined to provide further details.

Ryanair is also cutting three recently launched routes from Skavsta near Stockholm to Finland, Norway and Denmark, as well as flights between Brussels and Liverpool. In place of the abandoned routes, Ryanair will use Skavsta for flights to Rome and Milan. It will also start a Frankfurt service to Tampere in Finland and to Reus in Spain.