Ryanair warns of higherfares and fewer routes

2nd February 2004, Comments 0 comments

2 February 2004, BRUSSELS – Cut-price airline Ryanair has said low-cost airlines may have to cut routes and raise fares across Europe if the European Commission formally criticises a deal it struck with Belgium's Charleroi airport.

2 February 2004

BRUSSELS – Cut-price airline Ryanair has said low-cost airlines may have to cut routes and raise fares across Europe if the European Commission formally criticises a deal it struck with Belgium's Charleroi airport.

The airline warned on Sunday that if the Commission orders it to give back part of an EUR 3.8 million payment it received from the government of Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region, then it could pull out of state-owned airports across the EU.

The Walloons made the payment to encourage Ryanair to develop its activities at Charleroi.

If the airline presses ahead with its threat the move could see large numbers of routes cuts not just in and out of Belgium but also in other countries including France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.

A negative ruling would also force the airline to put up prices, it said.

“This decision will result in higher fares” and “threaten the development of low fare services at many publicly owned airports in Europe,” Ryanair warned in a statement.

Ryanair has also threatened to launch a spate of lawsuits of its own if the Commission finds against it in the Charleroi case.

“If there is an unacceptable decision, Ryanair will not only appeal but it has instructed its advisers to initiate state aid cases against every other airline flying into every state airport which offers concessions and discounts,” the airline warned.

Ryanair warns such action could affect nearly all of Europe’s airlines, as most have struck favourable landing deals with at least some state owned airports.

The Commission, acting in its role as the EU’s anti-trust watchdog, is expected to rule on the Charleroi case on Tuesday.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news

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