More than 1,000 Midland holidaymakers have had their travel plans thrown into chaos by the cancellation of flights to one of the Canary Islands from Birmingham International Airport.
Budget airline Ryanair has pulled the plug on services from Birmingham to Fuerteventura from January 31.
The airline only began flying to the sunshine destination in 2006 and in two years has built passenger numbers from 2,000 to over 250,000 a year with its services from the UK and Europe.
More than 50,000 passengers from Birmingham alone would normally be expected to fly to the destination each year with three Ryanair flights operating each week.
Now the airline is cancelling 23 weekly services on nine international routes to and from Fuerteventura, including those from East Midlands, Liverpool, London, Dublin and Frankfurt.
The airline has fallen out with the local tourism authority on the island, the AIE, which it claims has failed to sufficiently promote the island and its services to the destination as had been agreed.
A spokesman for the airline said: “We had a feeling that this situation wouldn’t reach a happy end for us so rather than take more bookings we closed the lid on these routes. We haven’t taken bookings since the end of October.”
He added that nationally, about 10,000 travellers who had booked flights leaving after January 31 would be affected and were now being contacted so they could claim their refund.
“We didn’t want to disrupt plans over Christmas and new year so we waited until January 31. We could have pulled these routes much quicker.”
Ryanair’s Michael Cawley said: “This is a very black day for Fuerteventura and one which will have a severe impact on tourism and the livelihoods of its islanders.”