Expatica news

Walloon Minister in Dublin for key Ryanair talks

8 April 2004

BRUSSELS – Wallonia’s Economics Minister Serge Kubla flew to Dublin on Thursday in a bid to persuade cut-price airline Ryanair to keep using Charleroi airport as one of its major European hubs.

A recent European Commission decision has forced Kubla to renegotiate a deal his government struck with Ryanair to encourage the cut-price airline to use Charleroi.

Under the original deal, Charleroi charged Ryanair EUR 1 per passenger for baggage handling services at Charleroi airport. But the Commission said this fee undercut market rates and amounted to an illegal subsidy from Charleroi to the Irish airline.

According to La Libre Belgique newspaper, Kubla will on Thursday propose to Ryanair that the airport raises its per passenger baggage handling fee to EUR 7 per passenger. 

Kubla will not suggest increasing Ryanair’s landing fees at the airport however. Instead he will propose to the airline that it continues paying EUR 1 per passenger it brings into the southern Belgian town.

This offer comes with strings attached however. To benefit from it, Ryanair must keep aircraft noise to a minimum when it flies in and out of Charleroi.

If the company’s planes are too noisy, the landing fee will go up, Kubla will say.

Kubla will also pledge to continue paying Ryanair EUR 4 per passenger to help the firm advertise its Charleroi services, but in line with the Commission ruling these payments will end after five years.

It remains to be seen how Ryanair will react to Kubla’s offer.

The company has already announced that it is cutting its regular London-Charleroi flights as a direct result of the Commission ruling.

It has also hinted that it may well pull out of Charleroi altogether if its costs for using the airport rise.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news