top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

Anger at Ryanair Marseille closure

Mayor and chamber of commerce say budget airline’s decision to cut 200 jobs and 13 routes will harm the region's future

RYANAIR is to close its base at Marseille, cutting 200 jobs and 13 routes out of 23.

The base will close on January 11 next year after magistrates charged the company with employing staff there on Irish employment contracts.

The 13 axed routes include domestic links to Lille, Brest, Nantes, Paris and Tours.

The other routes to close are Agadir, Eindhoven, Marrakesh, Nador, Palmero, Tangier, Tenerife and Venice

Ten other routes will remain, but the planes will not be based at Marseille. They are: London, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Fez, Madrid, Malta, Porto, Rome, Seville and Valencia.

Ryanair has argued that the staff’s workplace is on the planes, which are Irish-registered and therefore count as Irish territory.

The company pays social insurance contributions and taxes in Ireland and says the French stance is contrary to the European Directive on Transport Workers.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “Sadly the loss of these four aircraft, 200 jobs and 13 routes at Marseille is the high price necessary to demonstrate that these are mobile Irish workers, which is why they are covered by the EU regulations for mobile transport workers; and not by a local French decree which Ryanair is currently appealing to the European courts.

“This ill-judged legal action has therefore cost Marseille and France jobs, foreign investment and lost visitors. Sadly the loser in all of this will be Marseille Airport, tourism and jobs in the Provence region.”

However, Mr O’Leary said Ryanair remained “committed to Marseille” and its low-cost terminal, MP2, and would consider launching new routes in the future using craft based outside France.

Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce said Ryanair’s decision to pull out was “very bad news” and would hit the area’s development.

The body estimates that Ryanair has helped create 1,000 jobs in the region and has boosted the local economy by €550m in four years.

Marseille-Provence airport said traffic would fall by 30,000 passengers next January and 50,000 in February and March.

However, it said it was hopeful that Ryanair would launch more routes at Marseille for the summer season. It said there was no risk that the MP2 terminal would have to close.

Marseille UMP mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin said the two unions that had brought the legal action against Ryanair had behaved irresponsibly.

French pilots’ unions SNPL and Unac had filed a complaint with the court in Aix-en-Provence that Ryanair was ignoring employment laws.

The Office central de lutte contre le travail illégal ruled last month that the company, which flies 1.4 million passengers in and out of Marseille a year, had a case to answer.

If convicted, Ryanair could face a fine of €225,000, and could also face paying retroactive social charges for its employees since its launch in the city in 2006.

In April, budget airline EasyJet was fined €1.4m for employing 170 staff at Paris Orly Airport under British contracts.

Meanwhile, Ryanair has won a battle to take control of a website describing it as “the world’s most hated airline”.

UK domain name registrar Nominet ruled that took unfair advantage of the Ryanair brand name.

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France