New fears were raised over future flights from Scotland after budget airline Ryanair announced the closure of its base at Glasgow Airport with hundreds of jobs under threat and calls for Ministers to intervene to protect routes.

There was an angry reaction to the news that the number of routes operating from Glasgow will be reduced from 23 to three, but with five being transferred to Edinburgh it was a bitter-sweet move which could secure jobs in the Scottish capital.

Ryanair said it had run out of patience waiting for the Scottish Government to reduce Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax.

HeraldScotland: Profits plunge at Ryanair

Glasgow Airport said it was disappointed by the move as Holyrood insisted it is pushing the change as fast as possible.

Analysis: Air travel will go back to the eighties after Brexit

Glasgow's chief commercial officer David O'Brien said 300 indirect jobs could be lost at the airport with a potential fall in around 500,000 passengers.

He said: "Sadly the weaker Scottish market is even weaker still in Glasgow which simply can't bare the burden of APD at £13.

"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."

Mr O'Brien added: "The flipside is that you're looking at around 700 jobs being introduced to Edinburgh."

Analysis: Air travel will go back to the eighties after Brexit

Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport chief executive, 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.

"We'd hoped our growth would be incremental to Scotland but it would appear at last half of this year's growth is actually at the expense of Glasgow and that can't be god for the Scottish market and he economic development of our country."

Derek Mackay, Scottish Finance Secretary said the news from Ryanair "is clearly very disappointing for Glasgow Airport and the staff who will be affected".

He said: “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.

"But this has been deferred until the issues raised in relation to the Highland & Islands exemption have been resolved to ensure that the devolved powers are not compromised.”

Analysis: Air travel will go back to the eighties after Brexit

Ryanair said Brexit was also a background factor threatening Scottish tourism and the European airline industry.

The airline opened a new base at Glasgow Airport in autumn 2014, one of several new bases opened across Europe that year, but it will only fly to Dublin, Krakow and Wroclaw from Glasgow in its winter 2018 schedule.

It will host 45 routes from Edinburgh including 11 new routes.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: "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.

"The reality is this capacity will be reallocated elsewhere in Europe to countries with more favourable aviation taxation policies to Scotland's detriment."

Analysis: Air travel will go back to the eighties after Brexit

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “Looking ahead, it reinforces the absolute necessity for the Scottish Government to deliver on APD promises, which have unfortunately stalled.

"Twenty air routes have been lost overnight because of this delay and we don't want to see any more."

Liz Cameron, director and chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said implementing a tax reduction "will unlock growth opportunities".

However, Colin Howden, director of sustainable transport group Transform Scotland, questioned the tax case.

He said: "The aviation industry have claimed various economic benefits from a proposed APD cut, yet there is no independent evidence to suggest that this would be the case.”

Lezley Marion Cameron, vice-convener of the Edinburgh Housing and Economy Committee, said: “Ryanair’s announcement is welcome news for Edinburgh as the flights will boost tourism and open up new business links from a wide range of cities across Europe.

"We know that increased activity in terms of passenger numbers translates into economic benefits for the city and beyond, as well as creating new and better jobs for the local and wider economy."