Expatica news

Ryanair pledges ‘free’ tickets

22 July 2004

BRUSSELS – Flying from Belgium’s Charleroi airport with Ryanair could be almost entirely free in the future, it has been suggested.

The low-cost airline’s head Michael O’Leary told the Wednesday edition of German newspaper Die Zeit his company could envisage giving its tickets away in 10 years’ time.

“We’d get our money from the hotels we bring our passengers to, from the rental car firms, the airport shops and from the airports themselves who’d be happy to have us fly there,” said O’Leary.

“Our competitors will raise their prices because they’re losing money. We’ll cut ours,” he added.

O’Leary did make clear however that passengers would still have to pay any charges and taxes tacked on to their tickets by national authorities.

The comments came in response to the question what would Ryanair’s minimum price for an air ticket be.

“There is no minimum price,” insisted O’Leary.

Ryanair is currently suing the European Commission over its decision to order the Charleroi authorities to reclaim a part of an EUR 15 million state aid package it gave to the Irish airline.

In recent months, Ryanair has threatened to pull out of Charleroi in response to the Commission ruling.

In February, it announced it would cut its Charleroi-London route and said services to other European countries could follow.

O’Leary claims the Commission’s stance threatens all low-cost airlines and will hit passengers hardest.

“It is impossible to envisage the Commission preventing McDonald’s negotiating discounts from its supplies in order to lower the costs of its meals to consumers,” he said recently.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Thursday that Ryanair is facing legal action for failing to pay EUR 1.5m worth of landing fees at Stansted Airport in London, its key hub.

The British Airport Authority (BAA) is expected to begin legal proceedings after the the Irish airline on Wednesday ignored the deadline for payment of the fees.

Ryanair will still be allowed to land at Stansted, but its special discounts of up to 50 percent could be threatened.

For its part O’Leary’s airline has already said it intends to sue the BAA for allegedly charging too much on fuel levies over a 12-year period.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news