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Ryanair ponders smoking flights

Published on 01/04/2005

1 April 2005

BRUSSELS – Chain-smokers who simply cannot sit on an airplane without lighting up may soon be able to do so on flights with budget airline Ryanair.

The carrier plans will conduct a pilot test of a “smokers’ class section” available to passengers at a somewhat elevated price, La Libre Belgique reported Friday.

The test will be carried out on flights using the airline’s Charleroi hub in southern Belgium.

“One must see first of all if there would be any economic advantage,” the outspoken head of the airline, Michael O’Leary, told the newspaper.

He said the airline estimates that as many as 12 percent of its passengers are against prohibiting smoking on flights.

“This 12 percent represents for us the theoretical possibility to realise a profitable slot in the schedule for smokers’ flights,” he said.

He estimates this would be about one flight out of 30 to the airline’s most popular destinations.

During the month of April, Ryanair will make available certain airplanes for the test project at a slightly extra price.

O’Leary assured the newspaper that the planes are properly ventilated and that air filters will be changed after every flight.

And what about Ryanair’s non-smoking customers?

They will apparently be allowed on the smoking flights, but only after signing a disclaimer in which they agree not to hold the airline responsible for any health effects and relieve it of any potential legal liability.

O’Leary explained that one reason behind the pilot program is to appease the airline’s smoking employees.

“We will be able to reconcile their demands and our interests,” he is quoted as saying.

 [Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news