Ryanair (FR, Dublin International) has confirmed it will not re-open its Brussels National base in summer 2023, blaming the airport's 11% hike in airline and passenger fees being implemented in April 2023.

"Unlike many other European Union airports who are lowering prices to recover traffic lost during the Covid pandemic or freezing charges to stimulate passenger growth, Brussels Zaventem has chosen to jack up prices yet again by 11% for airlines and passengers from April 2023, making it even more uncompetitive compared to other Belgian and EU airports," the airline said in a statement. The base was already closed during the winter season.

Ryanair confirmed it would still operate 12 routes to/from Brussels Zaventem during the summer on aircraft based outside of Belgium. Its flights from Brussels Charleroi would be unaffected. Ryanair expects to operate 109 routes to/from Brussels Charleroi in the summer season.

"As a statement for the closure, the management refers to the fact that it could not come to an agreement with Brussels Airport on lower rates," commented Hans Elsen, secretary of trade union ACV Puls, in a statement. "Those tariffs at Charleroi are unrealistically low right now. Ryanair is taking advantage of those cheap fares at secondary airports to profit. This is at the expense of staff and support services at airports."

The base closure reportedly put 59 jobs at risk, Elsen told Belga News Agency. On social media, Elsen pointed out that Charleroi was Ryanair's second most profitable airport after Dublin International in 2019/20. "Ryanair had a profit margin of 27.6% at Charleroi in 2019-2020. They made over EUR100 million profit there alone. More than 1/10 of their profit figure. All this at the expense of the taxpayer (passenger tax that is nine times lower than Brussels Zaventem), staff and climate. Good job, government!"