Following a decision by Alicante Airport to introduce extra fees, Ryanair has said it will cut 31 routes and 2,000 jobs from the Spanish base.

The airline said the 80pc cuts will include slashing its aircraft base from 11 to just two, as well as decreasing flight routes from 62 to 31.

Ryanair said it will now run less than 200 flights per week, compared to more than 600 previously operated. That will add up to a decrease of 2.5 million passengers per year.

The airport’s operators AENA has decided to enforce the use of airbridges, which will add about €2m costs for Ryanair. The airline believes the airbridges are an “unnecessary” facility and their compulsory implementation is an “abuse of AENA’s monopoly”.

The company said in a statement this morning that it has submitted a formal complaint to both the Spanish Government and the European Commission.

Controversial as ever, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said, “We hope even at this late stage that AENA Alicante will recognise the stupidity of trying to force up Ryanair’s handling costs by €2m p.a., which will now cost AENA Alicante more than €30m p.a. in lost aeronautical and commercial revenues.”

He also threatened the operators, “AENA Alicante must understand that Ryanair is an efficient, low cost carrier, and we have many other low cost airport alternatives across Europe if Alicante doesn’t want to provide low cost facilities.”

He said Ryanair would not be bullied.