Ryanair Accuses Transportation Minister Of Misleading The Dáil <


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Ryanair Accuses Transportation Minister Of Misleading The Dáil

By Mike Mitchell

February 13, 2010 - Ireland’s Ryanair Airlines on Friday accused the Minister of Transportation, Noel Dempsey of misleading the Dáil on Wed 10th February, when he claimed that, “I believe that the decline in passenger numbers at (Irish) airports cannot be attributed to the imposition of the travel tax. The economic recession has had a significant impact on consumer demand for discretionary air travel throughout Europe”. 

Ryanair believes that both Minister Dempsey and the Department of Transport know that these claims are false. During 2009, while the DAA airports were losing over 4m passengers as a result of their high costs and the Govt’s €10 tourist tax, the two main Irish airlines, Ryanair and Aer Lingus, grew their traffic by over 7m passengers. The facts prove that the consumer demand for low fare air travel across Europe during this recession has increased, not fallen. The only explanation for the collapse in traffic at the Irish airports is therefore the DAA’s high and uncompetitive charges, and the Govt’s €10 tourist tax. 


Minister Dempsey also claimed in the Dáil that: “Competition and connectivity are the cornerstones of aviation policy. My Department’s main objective is to assist airports and airlines to respond to the downturn in the sector.” Ryanair again accused Minister Dempsey of misleading the Dáil, when his Department’s only response to the collapse in traffic at the Irish airports in 2009 was to order the (supposedly) independent Aviation Regulator to approve a 40% increase in DAA charges during 2010. If competition and connectivity are the cornerstones of Minister Dempsey’s policy, then ordering a 40% increase in airport charges at a time when the Irish airports are losing traffic, flights and routes, is a strange way of going about it. 

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said, “This week’s statement by Minister Dempsey in the Dáil conclusively proves that he either hasn’t a clue what he is talking about, or he deliberately misled the Dáil. Minister Dempsey cannot claim that the recession is responsible for the steep traffic losses at the DAA airports last year, when during the same recession, Ryanair and Aer Lingus grew traffic by over 7m passengers last year. If the Irish airlines are growing, but the Irish airports are declining, then the problem clearly lies with the Irish airports and the Govt’s €10 tourist tax.


Instead of responding to this traffic and tourism crisis with lower costs, Minister Dempsey and the Dept of Transport have ordered the supposedly independent Regulator to rubberstamp a 40% increase in DAA fees over 2010. It is also absurd for Noel Dempsey to claim that “competition is the cornerstone of aviation policy”, when his Department have awarded DAA the contract to build the second terminal at Dublin Airport and have now instructed the Regulator to increase passenger fees by 40% to pay for this €1bn white elephant. 

“It is time for Minister Dempsey and this Government to recognize that their €10 tourist tax has been a disaster for Irish tourism, as has their policy of protecting the DAA monopoly, and awarding it a 40% increase in passenger fees, at a time when all other EU Governments and airports are scrapping tourist taxes and/or reducing airport fees, in many cases to zero.”

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