The company said in a statement that 16 flight routes would also be lost as a result of the “illogical decision of the Italian government to raise municipal taxes further”.
From January 1st, the government raised taxes by about 40 percent (from €6.50 to €9) for each passenger departing from Italy in order to subsidize a fund set up for pilots laid off as a result of the merger between Alitalia and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad.
David O’Brien, Ryanair’s Chief Commercial Officer, said the Italian government was “shooting itself in the foot”, especially after a record year for tourism in Europe.
He added that the company has “no choice” but to close bases in Alghero, Sardinia, and Pescara, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, from September, as well as scrap flights from Crotone in Calabria. Some 800,000 customers will also be lost.
“This tax hike will severely damage Italian tourism, particularly around regional airports where Ryanair brings millions of visitors each year, contributing millions of euro to local economies through high tourist spends, while supporting thousands of jobs,” O'Brien said.
“Indeed, at a time of over 40 percent youth unemployment, tourism is one of the few industries that can stimulate rapid job creation for young people in the regions of Italy.”
The layoffs are another blow for Italy’s economy, with the announcement coming on the same day Istat, the national statistics office, said the unemployment rate rose slightly in December after declining for four consecutive months.
The US technology firm, Yahoo!, also said on Tuesday it would close its Milan office as part of a cost-cutting plan that will see 1,700 jobs lost worldwide.