Walloon minister slams ‘demanding’ Ryanair
4 March 2004
BRUSSELS – Wallonia’s economics minister has reacted with thinly disguised annoyance to cut price airline Ryanair’s announcement that it is not prepared to pay increased landing fees to use Charleroi airport in southern Belgium, Le Soir newspaper reported on Thursday.
In an interview with Le Soir, the minister, Serge Kubla, criticised Ryanair’s strong-arm approach to the question of landing fees, which the European Commission has ruled are artificially low and amount to an illegal subsidy from state-owned Charleroi airport to the Irish airline.
“Ryanair has clearly not decided to take the softly-softly approach to negotiations,” the minister said testily.
“They are publicly upping the stakes by making demands that make things hard for us,” he added.
On Wednesday, Le Soir reported that Ryanair had told the authorities it is not prepared to pay once cent more than the EUR 5 per passenger it currently pays to use Charleroi.
If the price goes up, the airline has threatened to pull out of the airport altogether, Le Soir added.
But the Walloon authorities they believe they will have to charge at least EUR 9 in order to respect the Commission’s 3 February ruling.
Ryanair has so far made no public statement about the landing fees question and representatives from the airline are due to meet with Walloon officials on 12 March.
But the cut-price airline has already fired what many analysts see as a warning shot with its announcement that it will end flights between Charleroi and London in April.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news