Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) has announced it will close its base in Chania, Crete and reduce its domestic flights within Greece citing high airport charges.

According to the airline's announcement on Wednesday, April 11, effective June 1, it will transfer one aircraft from Athens Int'l and another from Chania to Germany, where it is expanding its services.

"Ryanair's base in Chania will close, with the result that four, low-frequency flights from Chania to Venice Treviso, Vilnius, Katowice, and Memmingen will be abolished. Ryanair will continue to link Athens with Mykonos, Santorini and Thessaloniki this summer. All the other domestic flights in Greece will be cancelled," it said.

Ryanair Sales and Marketing Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Nikolaos Lardis, justified the LCC's action on the grounds that Greek airport charges, on the whole, encourage flights only in summer and only to international destinations; flights that need fewer aircraft in Greece.

"So, two aircraft will be transferred from Greece to Germany where they can generate higher performance on an annual basis. Ryanair remains open to discussions with airport authorities on formulating a development plan for all airline companies that will support flights throughout the year and justify additional aircraft with a permanent base in Greek airports," he said.

Ryanair is planning to wet-lease a total of eight aircraft to LaudaMotion (Vienna) this summer season for operations out of Germany and Switzerland with aeroTELEGRAPH reporting that in addition to four aircraft operating out of Berlin Tegel and two out of Düsseldorf, an additional two B737-800s will be operating out of Zurich starting June 1.