BUDGET airline Ryanair is to close its base at Glasgow Airport with the potential loss of 300 jobs after “running out of patience” waiting for the Scottish Government to halve Air Passenger Duty (APD).

It will cut 20 services from Glasgow, leaving three, and transfer five to Edinburgh, which will become its new Scottish headquarters.

Glasgow Airport said it was bitterly disappointed by the move, which it said came despite “clear and repeated warnings” over the policy not being implemented.

Ryanair’s chief commercial officer David O’Brien said 300 indirect jobs could be lost at Glasgow Airport due to the move, with a potential fall of around 500,000 passengers.

“Sadly, the weaker Scottish market is even weaker still in Glasgow which simply can’t bear the burden of APD at £13,” he said.

“This should not come as a surprise to the Government – we did say that our growth in Glasgow was based on their promise to abolish APD, which morphed into a promise to half APD, which suddenly has disappeared into the ether and quite frankly we don’t have any more patience. There are other markets in the UK and Europe which offer a more compelling proposition.

“Passengers mean jobs and around 500,000 passengers will be lost at Glasgow pressurising around 300 jobs which will probably be lost.

“The flipside is that you’re looking at around 700 jobs being introduced to Edinburgh.”

Ryanair opened a new base at Glasgow Airport in autumn 2014 – one of several across Europe that year – but it will only fly to Dublin, Krakow and Wroclaw from the city in its winter 2018 schedule. It will host 45 routes from Edinburgh, including 11 new services.

O’Brien said APD – which will become Air Departure Tax (ADT) when it is implemented – also disadvantaged Edinburgh, but that it was a better inbound destination for the airline. “It’s a more fertile market,” he said.

In an angry statement, a spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: “We are bitterly disappointed at this decision by Ryanair which is not only damaging for Glasgow and wider Scottish connectivity, it will impact approximately 100 jobs locally. This is a result of the airline’s review of its single aircraft bases, however, we have been left in no doubt it is also a consequence of the Scottish Government’s inability to introduce its proposed 50 per cent cut in ADT.

“Despite clear and repeated warnings from both airports and airlines about the potential impact of this policy not being implemented, we are now faced with a stark scenario that includes the loss of 20 services and a significant number of jobs.

“This is the second example in as many months of an airline cutting capacity in Scotland because of the lack of movement on ADT. The reality is this capacity will be reallocated elsewhere in Europe to countries with more favourable aviation taxation policies, to Scotland’s detriment.

“We cannot sit back and risk Scotland’s connectivity being further eroded. It is imperative there is immediate action on ADT.”

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “I find myself torn between the pleasure of the new routes and the relief really that these cuts being seen at Glasgow are not being suffered in Edinburgh. I think that’s a wake-up call for the Government.”

Liz Cameron, director and chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said Ryanair’s announcement reflected wider economic uncertainty. She said: “Across Scotland’s international airports, new routes have been announced as well as a high volume of route closures.

“The priority must be to ensure the highly-skilled individuals affected by today’s announcement are supported into appropriate and alternative employment.

“Now is the time for Scotland’s respective governments to work at speed to remove the barriers that exist in making use of ADT and implementing the reduction that will unlock growth opportunities.”

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said the news was disappointing, but blamed Brexit: “The continued uncertainty around Brexit is having a negative impact on route development in Scotland. We will continue to work in partnership with Ryanair and other airlines, and to support all Scottish airports, to do everything possible to grow the number of international routes to and from Scotland.

“The Scottish Government continues to be committed to reducing ADT by 50 per cent by the end of this Parliament and we want to get on and deliver this.”