Ryanair says to reopen routes from Marseille

1st February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Low-cost European airline Ryanair said Tuesday it would reopen most of the routes from the French city Marseille which it shut in protest at being prosecuted over its employment practices.

"We can never get all the traffic back," chief executive Michael O'Leary told reporters in the Mediterranean city. But he said he hoped to pick up 75 percent of the traffic from the routes that Ryanair cut last month.

Ryanair last month abandoned its base at Marseille airport in protest over French prosecutors; refusal to drop charges against it for hiring workers on Irish contracts which they said breached labour laws.

The company cut 13 routes from Marseille to destinations in Europe and Morocco, served by four aircraft based in the French city. But it continued to run 10 routes to and from the airport by planes based elsewhere.

Now, O'Leary said Tuesday, the airline will reopen routes and get around the court ruling by not basing its planes in Marseille on a permanent basis and by regularly changing the pilots and air crew working on the reopened routes.

"They will generally be Irish pilots and cabin crew moving temporarily to Marseilles through the summer," he said.

This way, Ryanair is "avoiding the obligation to pay taxes and social insurance in France, but I emphasise all these people will continue to pay taxes and social insurance in Ireland," he added.

© 2011 AFP

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