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RYANAIR is to cut its traffic to London Stansted by 9pc this year in protest at what it calls a further "unjustified" increase in airport charges.

Stansted has announced a 6pc increase in charges from April – which Ryanair says should be investigated.

The Michael O'Leary-led airline stated that it will reduce the number of passengers it flies to Stansted by 1.1m this year.

The airline had intended to grow its Stansted traffic by 5pc from April 2013 but will now row back on these plans.

Frequencies on 43 of its routes will be cut and Ryanair's weekly operations will be scaled back by over 170 flights.

It's expected that the move will lead to around 1,000 job losses at Stansted.

Ryanair has now called on the UK's Civilian Aviation Authority to probe whether the hike was a "sweetener" as part of a deal struck by Ferrovial/BAA in its recent sale of Stansted to Manchester Airport Group (MAG).

"It's bad enough that Ferrovial/BAA has doubled prices over the past 6 years and presided over record traffic falls at Stansted, but it appears that the CAA now rewards this commercial failure by allowing Ferrovial/BAA to again raise fees in 2013 to compensate for its traffic declines in 2012," said spokesman Robin Kiely.

"Given that Ferrovial/BAA has now agreed to sell the airport to MAG, it is impossible to understand why the BAA monopoly is again raising Stansted's prices from April 2013 when it clearly won't be running the airport from that date," he added.