Ireland-based low-cost airline, Ryanair, has announced that it is scrapping its scheduled summer flights to the Greek Islands of Rhodes and Kos a month before the season ends.
The airline claims that its decision to cancel the routes is due to the authorities on the two islands ‘reneging’ on a promotion agreement, and it announced the cancellation of 82 flights a week from October 2, 2012, on 11 routes to Kos and 13 to Rhodes.
The services affected will be those to Rhodes from Stansted, East Midlands, Liverpool and Bournemouth in the UK, and to Kos from Stansted, Leeds Bradford and Liverpool, all of which would ordinarily have been operated until late November.
The promotion agreement that has caused the adverse reaction is claimed to be between Ryanair, the Dodecanese Development Association and the mayor of Kos. In a statement the airline said that the two other parties had, ‘failed to honour an agreed joint marketing campaign with Ryanair to promote Ryanair’s Rhodes and Kos routes this summer.’
The situation is likely to have developed because the budget crisis in Greece has lead to a reduction in funds for tourism authorities and other bodies involved with the tourism industry. The action by Ryanair will do little to improve that situation, with the airline claiming that the cost to the two islands of it shortening its service would be in excess of EUR18m in lost tourism revenue.
Meanwhile, the Greek tourist minister is reported to have said that, ‘the Greek government has not signed any contract with any low-budget airline.’