Ryanair rival partly wins case against airport

9th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

9 August 2006, KIEL, GERMANY - A German airline that competes with low-cost carrier Ryanair partly won a court challenge Tuesday against the cut-rate airport fees that have been a secret of the Irish company's success. Air Berlin had sued small Luebeck Airport, used by Ryanair to provide services to the port city of Hamburg, 70 kilometres away. In a decision published Tuesday, a state court in Kiel ordered the airport company to disclose financial transactions that may involve subsidies to Ryanair. Air Ber

9 August 2006

KIEL, GERMANY - A German airline that competes with low-cost carrier Ryanair partly won a court challenge Tuesday against the cut-rate airport fees that have been a secret of the Irish company's success.

Air Berlin had sued small Luebeck Airport, used by Ryanair to provide services to the port city of Hamburg, 70 kilometres away.

In a decision published Tuesday, a state court in Kiel ordered the airport company to disclose financial transactions that may involve subsidies to Ryanair.

Air Berlin contends that the airport, owned by the municipality of Luebeck, has not been charging Ryanair commercial rates.

A spokeswoman for the BDF association of German airlines called the ruling a blow to Ryanair's business model, which partly relies on obtaining low fees at little-known airports that are eager to drum up travel business.

It was the first such case in Germany, but the third in Europe.

In a September 2003 case, Ryanair was told to return illegal subsidies from the French airport of Strasbourg. At the start of 2004, the European Union told Ryanair to refund three-quarters of subsidies it received from Charleroi airport in Brussels, Belgium.

However, the municipality of Luebeck responded that Air Berlin had failed on five out of seven points that it took to court.

Ryanair's six routes out of Luebeck Airport, including one to Stansted airport near London, compete with other airlines' operations out of Hamburg international airport, a glossy, full-service airport conveniently sited within Hamburg's city limits.

Air Berlin says it had to terminate its own low-fare Hamburg-London service because it could not compete with Ryanair's prices.

DPA

Subject: German news

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