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Old July 5th, 2009, 03:49 PM   #1621
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Ryanair resumes Lingus battle
5 July 2009
The Sunday Times

LAWYERS for the Irish government will reiterate its opposition to any Ryanair takeover of Aer Lingus when an oral hearing on the failed 2006 bid opens in Luxembourg tomorrow.

Ryanair's first attempt to buy the former state airline fell foul of European Union merger rules when the European Commission ruled against the merger in June 2007.

The EU Court of First Instance (CFI) will hear oral submissions on Ryanair's appeal tomorrow. The judgment, expected to be published later this year, could have significant implications for the Irish air transport market.

A ruling in favour of the commission's 2007 decision would make it extremely difficult for Ryanair to complete a takeover of Aer Lingus if it decides to make a third attempt.

The low-fares operation, led by Michael O'Leary, announced it had acquired a 16% stake in Aer Lingus in October 2006 after the state airline was privatised. It launched a hostile takeover bid, which required clear-ancfrom the commission under merger regulations.

The government opposed the move, citing the importance of competitive and frequent air services to and from Ireland as an island nation.

It said a merger of the two largest airlines flying into and out of the country, Ryanair and Aer Lingus, would have a significant detrimental effect on competition, with negative conse-quencefor the growth and development of Irish business and tourism.

A legal team from the Chief State Solicitor's Office will make the state's case against Ryanair again tomorrow. Aer Lingus will be separately represented and will present its own arguments against Ryanair's right to take it over.

In a written submission already lodged with the CFI, the state has argued that for an island economy dependent on competitive air services for growth, the merger would have been incompatible with Irish aviation policy.

It would have left the merged entity "without any competitive restraint on the majority of the 35 overlap markets identified by the commission in its decision of 27th June 2007", the submission argued. The merged entity would therefore be free to raise its prices, cut its capacity and maximise profits to the detriment, largely, of Irish-resident consumers.

If the CFI upholds the 2007 commission ruling, any fresh Aer Lingus takeover bid by Ryanair will be rendered almost impossible, short of the company devising a remedies package such as divesting Aer Lingus's short-haul operation.

Ryanair, which launched a second bid for Aer Lingus late last year, has a 29.8% stake in its rival.

Howard Millar, Ryanair's chief financial officer, last month ruled out a fresh bid for the airline "certainly in the next three to five years".
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Old July 10th, 2009, 12:43 PM   #1622
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Ryanair and Aer Lingus contest EU shares rulings
7 July 2009
Irish Independent

Ryanair has challenged the European Commission's refusal to allow the low-cost airline to buy the entire Aer Lingus share capital.

Lawyers were in court in Luxembourg in the latest legal wrangle between Ryanair and Brussels.

And today Aer Lingus will be in the same court contesting the Commission's refusal to force Ryanair to divest itself of its current Aer Lingus stake of nearly 30pc.

Eurocrats are caught between the two in a tussle which started when Ryanair bought a 19.16pc share in Aer Lingus on the national carrier's privatisation in 2006.

Soon afterwards, Ryanair launched a public bid for the entire share capital -- but the commission declared the proposed merger illegal under EU competition rules.

By then Ryanair's share of Aer Lingus had risen to 29.4pc, prompting Aer Lingus to ask the commission to order Ryanair to sell its holding.

The commission rejected the request on the grounds that it has no power under the EU rules to make such an order against a minority shareholder which does not have a controlling power in Aer Lingus.

Yesterday it was the turn of Ryanair's lawyers to challenge the commission's claim that Ryanair's acquisition of all the Aer Lingus share capital would be incompatible with EU rules.

Today lawyers for AerLingus will ask the judges in the European Court of First Instance to annul the commission's decision to refuse to order Ryanair "to divest itself of its shareholding in Aer Lingus".

The commission is expected to repeat in court its insistence to Aer Lingus that the commission has no power under the EU merger regulation "to order such a divestiture". (PA)
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Old July 12th, 2009, 07:29 AM   #1623
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Low-cost carrier easyJet to begin flights from London to Israel, Morocco
8 July 2009

LONDON (AP) - Low-cost carrier easyJet PLC said Wednesday that it will open new services from London to Israel and Morocco later this year.

The airline said it will launch services six times a week from Luton Airport, just north of London, to Tel Aviv from November. A twice weekly service from London's Gatwick airport to Agadir, in southern Morocco, will begin in the same month.

EasyJet, which doubled its losses in the first six months of the financial year, is seeking to expand its routes and compete with traditional carriers.

The airline said it was adding a total of 23 routes in 2009, adding services across the Mediterranean and Middle East. It currently flies to 111 airports in 28 countries.

"Israel seemed the next logical step as part of that expansion," said easyJet spokeswoman Samantha Day. "It'll introduce a whole new market. It makes Israel more accessible to a whole new range of travelers."

EasyJet chief executive Andy Harrison said easyJet will be the first low-cost airline to operate between London and Israel.

"This is a major breakthrough," he said. "For the first time the traveling public in the London area has the choice between a high-cost traditional airline and a low-cost alternative."

One-way fares to Tel Aviv will be priced from about 72 pounds ($115.95), one-way fares to Agadir will cost from about 35 pounds ($56)

In May, the airline posted a net loss of 85.9 million pounds ($114 million) for the six months to the end of March, compared with 43.3 million pounds a year ago. It said fuel hedge contracts had kept it from benefiting from falling oil prices.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 06:42 PM   #1624
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Ryanair downplays swine flu impact, cuts winter schedule
21 July 2009
Agence France Presse

Irish budget carrier Ryanair said Tuesday that swine flu was not expected to affect passenger traffic but added it would cut 2009-2010 winter capacity at London Stansted Airport due to higher charges.

"We don't expect the flu to have any impact on our traffic this winter," Ryanair chief executive Micheal O'Leary told a London news conference when asked by reporters about the impact of swine flu.

The airline said in an earlier statement it would slash capacity at Stansted, located northeast of London and operated by Spanish-owned airports group BAA.

"Ryanair today announced a 40-percent capacity cutback in its Stansted winter schedule starting in October 2009," the statement said.

"Ryanair operated 40 aircraft from Stansted this summer but will reduce this to 24 aircraft -- a 40 percent reduction -- this winter."

The airline added that it would reduce the number of weekly flights by 30 percent between October 2009 and March 2010.

It said it would now switch the 16 aircraft it was withdrawing from Stansted to other European bases.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 02:59 PM   #1625
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Ryanair's fees move is no flight of fancy
22 July 2009
The Times

Ryanair is the Tesco of the skies. Admired for its climb to the top of the market and resented for the aggressive tactics that helped it to get there.

One of the strengths that the two companies share is their ability to force suppliers to lower their prices. These cost reductions are then passed on to consumers, which in turn feeds the phenomenal growth that both companies have enjoyed over the past decade.

However, Ryanair, which is now Europe's largest airline, has hit a bit of turbulence because the British Government and BAA, the airports operator, do not seem to understand their role in the food chain.

When Ryanair asked BAA to share the pain of the downturn by reducing its landing fees, the airline claims to have been offered 20p per passenger — about 3 per cent.

Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's mouthy chief executive, had a better idea: how about a 100 per cent cut? BAA declined and so Mr O'Leary retaliated yesterday by announcing that he will remove 16 planes from BAA's Stansted airport this winter. Ryanair will cut its flights by 30 per cent and axe ten routes completely, costing BAA millions of pounds in lost revenues.

Mr O'Leary will redeploy his planes to countries such as Spain, which has just announced that it is eliminating all landing fees this winter in an attempt to keep tourist numbers up.

Mr O'Leary also slammed the British Government for increasing Air Passenger Duty by between 20 per cent and 100 per cent at a time when travellers are already cutting back on their weekend breaks to Barcelona and Prague.

The Government and BAA do not seem to be listening to Mr O'Leary's demands, perhaps because they are used to operating as monopolies.

However, the world seems to be moving in Mr O'Leary's direction. As he pointed out yesterday, planes are the most mobile of assets and he has an opportunity to use Europe's economic difficulties to screw the best deals out of the most desperate airports and governments.

Spain and Greece have axed landing charges while Belgium and the Netherlands have done away with their passenger taxes. This is a buyer's market, and Ryanair knows it.

The rarefied world of aviation, where airline destinations were often agreed through bilateral trade agreements, is breaking down.

It is beginning to resemble the grubby world of commercial haggling, and so Mr O'Leary may well get his way in the UK eventually. Just like Tesco.
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 10:39 AM   #1626
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80,000 Ryanair Passengers Would ‘Stand’ for a Free Fare

66% of 120,000 passengers vote for free standing flights in online poll

Ryanair, the World’s favourite airline, today (22nd July) announced that over 80,000 (66%) passengers voting in an online poll over the past two weeks said they would stand on short one hour flights if it meant that their fare would be free.

Over 120,000 passengers voted in the poll with 72,000 (60%) agreeing that airline passengers should have a choice of standing on short flights as they already do on buses, trains and underground transport while a minority of 50,000 (42%) said they would stand if they could pay 50% less than seated passengers.

If it meant your fare was free would you stand on a one hour flight?
66% Yes; 34% No

If it meant your fare was half that of a seated passenger would you stand on a one hour flight?
42% Yes; 58% No

Do you think passengers should have a choice of standing on short flights as they currently do on trains, buses and underground transport?
60% Yes; 40% No


Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said:

“Ryanair offers passengers the guaranteed lowest fares and we are pleased that 60% of participants in our online poll agree that people should be given the choice to travel fare free on short flights by standing if they want to. With 120,000 passengers voting and 80,000 saying they would stand on board Ryanair will continue to explore the concept of ‘fare free standing’ flights with Boeing and the relevant aviation authorities in the US and EU”.

------
Okay, so it's forbidden to stand during take-off and landing in any other airliner. Because it's considered dangerous. And now Ryanair is going to introduce standing flights? I guess they lost their mind at "Cowboyair"...
I favor safety over cheap tickets. As IMHO anyone should do.
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 01:24 PM   #1627
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthurK View Post
If it meant your fare was free would you stand on a one hour flight?
66% Yes; 34% No

If it meant your fare was half that of a seated passenger would you stand on a one hour flight?
42% Yes; 58% No

Do you think passengers should have a choice of standing on short flights as they currently do on trains, buses and underground transport?
60% Yes; 40% No
So 6% of people want to stand on flights but at the same time, they dont want the option of standing?
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 01:50 PM   #1628
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The 'standing on the plane' thing is nothing more than a publicity stunt by Ryanair. The Boeing 737-800s that Ryanair flies are certified for (I believe) 189 passengers, not one more. They can't squeeze in more by making people stand, it'd be illegal. The plane would never meet the 90 second evacuation rule with say 250 passengers.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 07:27 PM   #1629
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Expatriates fear losing link to families as Ryanair axes winter flights
25 July 2009
The Times

The announcement by Ryanair that it is to cut winter services from Stansted has been greeted with dismay in France, where thousands of British homeowners have come to rely on the low-cost airline.

"Ryanair has turned itself into a sort of bus route and it's suddenly saying that it's going to take loads of buses off the timetable," said Stewart Edwards, 62, who lives in the Dordogne, southwest France. "It could be a problem for a lot of people."

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of the Irish carrier, said he planned to cut ten routes and reduce capacity on 30 others in response to falling demand and air passenger taxes in Britain and Ireland. The routes to be cut have yet to be announced, but British expatriates in France fear services that they have come to see as a link to families back home may be affected.

The news also alarmed local authorities, many of which have spent millions of euros upgrading airport facilities for Ryanair, which flies to 23 destinations in France. "There are lots of people down here who commute to Britain every week," Mr Edwards said. "I see them in Limoges on a Monday morning. They're on their laptops in airport before the flight takes off. Those people are going to be hit really hard."

Adrian Raynor, 47, a retired policeman who also has a home in the Dordogne, described Ryanair as a "vital lifeline for us to get back to Britain and for people to come out to see us here". He said he used the carrier up to seven times a year, paying a total of ¤75 for a return trip for two adults and two children on his latest visit.

"There are alternatives, such as the ferry or other airlines, but there all dear," he said. "There's nothing else which is as cheap."
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Old July 27th, 2009, 07:30 PM   #1630
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No end to airfare reduction, Ryanair says

DUBLIN, July 27 (Reuters) - Irish airline Ryanair sees no end to the constant lowering of its fares and no need to acquire any rivals to continue to grow, Deputy Chief Executive Michael Cawley said on Monday.

"We still have only 10 percent of total market in Europe so there's plenty of scope for us to reduce fares to stimulate that growth... consequently I don't see any end to the constant reduction in fares," Cawley said in an interview.

Cawley said talks with Boeing and Airbus on orders to expand its fleet beyond 320 by 2012 were in an early stage and that the Dublin-based airline would continue to grow organically, rather than through acquisitions.

"We can grow organically ourselves by pretty well the size of British Midlands or Aer Lingus every year so there's no real issue for us to have to acquire somebody to grow," he said.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 06:38 PM   #1631
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Ryanair shifting winter routes aggressively, expanding services to Canary Islands
29 July 2009

DUBLIN (AP) - Irish budget airline Ryanair announced a major shifting of its winter routes Wednesday to capitalize on Europeans' love affair with Canary Islands sunshine.

The Dublin-based carrier said it would launch 39 routes in October linking sun-starved Belgium, Britain, Germany and Ireland to the three major Canaries resort islands of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. Portugal and mainland Spain also are getting new links to the Canaries.

The move represents a challenge to the package holiday operators and chartered airlines that traditionally dominate tourist traffic to the Canaries, which lie west off the coast of Morocco. Ryanair is seeking to compete with the package operators by offering its own on-line booking services for hotels and rental cars.

As with other recent moves, Ryanair attributed its decision to British and Irish taxes on air passengers, rather than the challenges of recession or shifting seasonal demands.

Ryanair's announcement asserted that the airline was moving its aircraft to the Canaries from Britain and Ireland, "where passenger taxes damage tourism."

Nonetheless, most of the new routes link the Canaries to both countries: 20 routes to Britain, and four more to Ireland.

Last week, Ryanair announced it was withdrawing 16 of its 40 aircraft over the winter period from its biggest base, Stansted Airport northeast of London, and planned to make similar winter reductions in its No. 2 base, Dublin. It blamed British and Irish tax for that move and made no mention of its Canary Islands plans.

Ryanair pursued its offensive against taxes on another front Wednesday, filing a formal complaint to European Union competition authorities against the Irish government over its euro10 ($14) tax on air passengers.

Ryanair argued that the tax constitutes illegal state aid to its two main Irish competitors, Aer Lingus and Aer Arann. The tax is not imposed on Aer Lingus passengers who use Irish airports to transit between flights, while the government levies a lower euro2 ($2.80) tax on passengers using the internal Ireland flights of Aer Arann.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 05:29 PM   #1632
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Ryanair announce five new routes from Glasgow
30 July 2009

Budget airline Ryanair has announced five new Spanish routes from Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

The airline has confirmed that from the end of October 2009 they will start flying from Glasgow Prestwick Airport to Alicante, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Palma while a fifth new route to Ibiza will commence in March 2010.

Ryanair expects the new routes to carry an extra 100,000 passengers each year from the Glasgow Airport.

As well as the five new routes, the airline also plans to increase the frequency on flights to Faro, Malaga and Tenerife.

Ryanair's director of new route development Ken O'Toole said: "Ryanair is delighted to announce five new sun routes and increased frequencies on three routes to and from Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which will allow us to bring more low fares, more competition and choice to even more Scottish consumers and visitors.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 06:00 PM   #1633
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Economic downturn grounds easyJet's ambitious growth and fleet size targets
30 July 2009
The Times

EasyJet has bowed to pressure from Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the budget airline's founder, and halved its growth rate target to 7.5 per cent.

In previous years the Luton-based carrier was growing its passenger numbers at about 15 per cent a year as it sought to build its market share across Europe.

However, Sir Stelios, whose family controls 38 per cent of the airline's shares, had grown concerned about the rate of growth, particularly in an economic downturn.

The entrepreneur is not thought to have demanded a specific reduction in growth but said yesterday that he was comfortable with the company's new target.

The airline said yesterday that in the three months to the end of June, passenger numbers increased by only 2.9 per cent to 11.9 million and full-year growth was expected to be only about 4 per cent.

Sir Stelios further extended his influence over the airline yesterday with the appointment of Bob Rothenberg as a non-executive director. Mr Rothenberg is Sir Stelios's personal accountant and a partner with the Blick Rothenberg firm in London. He will not be considered an independent director.

As part of its review of growth plans, easyJet has agreed to reassess deliveries of new aircraft to ensure it does not add excessive capacity.

It has 91 planes on order from Airbus but will increase its fleet size by only 30 to 207 in the next three years. Some older planes will be sold and leased aircraft will be returned to their owners, but this is unlikely to account for the full 91 planes on order. The remainder may be deferred or cancelled but no decision has been taken on that yet.

Despite the difficult economic environment, easyJet said that it had increased revenues by 12 per cent to £721 million in the three months to the end of June.

It also signalled that it would make a profit of between £25 million and £50 million for the full year, which ends in September.

The airline had previously said that it expected to be profitable but had given no further guidance.

A spokesman for the easyJet founder said: "Stelios is comfortable with the current growth strategy and fleet plan in the context of the current trading environment and given the existing contractual obligations to Airbus.

"No doubt the strategy and the fleet plan will be tweaked in the future, according to need. The recession hasn't affected passenger demand as much as Stelios and some other commentators had feared after the collapse of Lehman last autumn, but consumer confidence is a fragile thing at the best of times."'Stelios is comfortable with the current growth strategy'
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Old August 1st, 2009, 10:08 AM   #1634
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Ryanair defends visa check for non-EU citizens
1 August 2009
Irish Times

RYANAIR HAS defended a rule requiring passengers from outside the EU to have their visas checked by the airline before proceeding to their flights.

The Irish Timesis aware of a number of passengers who have missed their flights because they failed to have their boarding cards stamped as required by the rule, which is applied by no other airline.

The airline says all non-EU and non-EEA passengers travelling on its flights must have their online boarding passes checked and stamped at the Ryanair “document/visa check desk” before going through security. It says this is necessary “to ensure compliance with immigration authorities”.

A Ryanair spokesman said it had introduced the rule early this summer to allow non-EU and -EEA passengers to use web check-in. Previously, the airline did not allow non-EU and -EEA passengers to check in online; instead, it offered a refund of the extra cost of checking in at the airport.

Aer Lingus says it does not have such a requirement. “For those passengers who check in online, passports are checked either at the bag-tag desk or bag-drop machine or at the boarding gate,” a spokeswoman said.

The Ryanair spokesman said: “Other airlines don’t offer passengers the convenience of 100 per cent web check-in, so they don’t need to do this yet. They check visas at their long-queue check-in desks, which Ryanair passengers now avoid.”

The Garda Press Office, speaking for the Garda National Bureau of Immigration, said all passengers were required to have valid travel documents and carriers could be fined for allowing passengers to travel with defective documentation.

However, a spokesman said no new rule had been introduced for EU or EEA citizens.
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Old August 9th, 2009, 06:18 PM   #1635
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Are holiday homes a flight risk?
Low-cost airlines triggered property booms across Europe but left owners exposed, says Zoe Dare Hall

8 August 2009
The Daily Telegraph

Ryanair is launching 16 new routes, starting this winter. Spain is desperate to boost tourism and has cut landing charges to zero. Ryanair will be parking aircraft from cut flight routes there. They are to be used on European routes, bringing more holidaymakers to the Canaries.

Southern Spain

Winter sun guarantees year-round visitors. The expanding Malaga airport is becoming a major hub and the choice of airports ensures you will never get stuck.

Girona

No longer in Barcelona's shadow, Girona is a destination in its own right, thanks to Ryanair. Even if the airline pulled out, "which is very unlikely - a competitor would take their place'', says Rik de Ridder from Engel & Volkers estate agency in Girona, Barcelona is only an hour away or you can fly to airports just over the French border.

Oslo

Not the most obvious holiday destination, but amid all its cuts, Ryanair is launching a new route there in October.

Places to be fearful

Poland

Ryanair has cut 19 routes to nine Polish airports - partly because Polish workers are no longer travelling to the UK in such numbers.

Valencia

Particularly awkward if you live in the north of England as both Ryanair and Jet2 pulled their Valencia routes from Liverpool and Leeds Bradford, leaving travellers to either fly from London or to Alicante, about two hours by car from Valencia.

Agadir

It's a long drive from Marrakesh, the nearest alternative airport, if the low-cost carriers - who only launched the route last year - pull out of this Moroccan resort.

easyJet's routes from Bristol and Birmingham have already been cut.

Southern Italy

In a precarious climate, destinations out on a limb - or the foot, in Italy's case - are vulnerable.

Lamezia in Calabria is served only by low-cost carriers from Britain.

Western France

Ryanair currently serves a cluster of airports in the region, including Angouleme, Limoges and Poitiers, but for how much longer? If empty winter flights are O'Leary's target, then these are likely to be the first places to go.

Protection against closing flight routes

D Don't get stuck if an airline pulls out. Buy near holiday hubs (such as Malaga, Faro) or capital cities served by numerous airlines. Flight services are more reliable and air fares are competitively priced. This is important if you are dependent on rental income from other holidaymakers.

D Buy within easy access of a train station. With Eurostar and new fast routes to the south coast, travelling by train from Britain to Europe is becoming easier, faster and not always more expensive than flights, particularly in peak season. See www.seat61.com for routes and prices.

D Drive. If you have the luxury of time, and enjoy the journey as much as the final destination, then travelling overland across France and beyond needn't be a drudgery.

It's also more eco-friendly and saves on the hassle and expense of car hire once you're there.

Like most holiday home owners in the southern Italian region of Calabria, Carole Davies's rental income relies almost entirely on Ryanair and easyJet. She owns a two-bedroom house in the village of Falerna, 20km from Lamezia Terme airport, which is serviced by both of these budget airlines. "If those routes were to close, the nearest alternative is Naples and then a four-hour train journey to Lamezia,'' says Davies, who moved to Calabria 30 years ago and now rents out her home through Owners Direct (property IT2083).

"The arrival of low-cost flights in the last couple of years has started to introduce tourism,'' Davies says. "Without Ryanair, which is how nearly all of my guests arrive, this would come to an end.''

The easyJet effect - the property boom that blossomed on the back of low-cost flights - saw the second-home market expand to Morocco and less well-trodden areas of Spain, to much of Eastern Europe and as far as Egypt.

Low-cost airlines homed in on secondary airports and former military airfields that weren't used by mainstream carriers. But this led to the less welcome trend of Ryanair's Revenge, when these airlines started to pull underperforming routes, leaving those who bought locally high and dry.

Ryanair recently announced that it is reducing the number of aircraft it runs from Stansted by 40 per cent and is cutting the number of flights by 30 per cent. The destinations have yet to be revealed, but Ryanair's boss Michael O'Leary hints that areas of France where demand dies in winter are vulnerable. "People who go to a holiday home in the west of France for one weekend in November are hardly going to fill a plane,'' he comments.

BA flights from Gatwick to New York, Alicante, Barcelona, Kraków, Madrid, Malta and Palma are being suspended indefinitely from October.

Bob Atkinson, travel industry expert from Travelsupermarket.com, adds that airports that serve areas of off-the-beaten-track Italy, such as Bari and Brindisi in the south, could also be at risk, along with Eastern European destinations such as Kraków, Poland and the Czech Republic.

"Take Zadar in Croatia, where practically no airline in the world flies to other than Ryanair,'' Atkinson says. "You can now get there and you can pick up cheap property there, but what happens when Ryanair pulls out? That's where the problem lies, that Ryanair has opened up routes to secondary airports that no one else flies to. And flights to those out-of-the-way destinations are also usually more expensive - not the famous 1p offers - when Ryanair is the only carrier.''

Jane Hanslip, who runs holiday rental business Dordognerental.com, with chateaux and farmhouses around Bergerac, says the potential victims in France are obvious. "People who bought in Rodez, east of Bergerac, could be stuck. Also the area around Angoulême, Limoges and Poitiers. Who goes there in winter? And Pau relies entirely on the winter skiing market.''

However, Hanslip - who helped do the deal between Bergerac airport and Ryanair - believes Bergerac's routes are safe, "because it serves such a huge hinterland that runs down to Bordeaux'', she says. And the core of her summer rental business is families who come by car. But the swarm of British property buyers that Ryanair brought to the area affects her business in low season. "There's too much capacity and too little demand, especially out of season,'' Hanslip says. "I've had to start offering French language courses and riding holidays.''

While southern Spain's routes may resist drastic winter cuts due to a climate that brings year-round visitors, foreign home owners in Granada know what it's like to be left in the lurch. The Monarch route from Gatwick to their newly international airport was axed in 2007. Spanish low-cost carriers Vueling and Spanair have also cut routes to Granada, cutting out holiday-makers from Paris and Rome.

"Ryanair is the only British carrier serving Granada airport now and as they fly to Stansted, which is hopeless for me as I run a business in Brighton, I have to fly from Malaga airport instead,'' says Jo Chipchase, who lives in Lanjaron in the Alpujarras mountains. "At least the drive to Malaga has been cut to about two hours as the new stretch of motorway is complete. Expats have generally resigned themselves to the fact that they have to fly to the south of England from Malaga, which is currently a chaotic, large-scale construction site.''

But the property market in the area is suffering. "People are trying to sell their properties as a result,'' says Caroline Frohwein Rocano, who lives in Granada and runs online holiday home rental business Tiemporural.net. "But due to the economic crisis, nothing is selling and people are running into debt. I just sold my own house - a large three-storey town house in Orgiva - without an estate agent and people nearly fall off their chairs when they hear this as nothing has sold in the area for so long.''

During the boom years, it was easy to see the effect a low-cost airline brought to an area. Savills estimated that living near an airport served by low-cost airlines could add 37 per cent to the property's value, particularly in mid-distance locations such as Cyprus or the Canary Islands. Girona in northern Spain was a success story. The airport saw 500,000 passengers a year before Ryanair arrived in 2004 and now sees six million a year. Local properties values shot up 15 to 20 per cent.

Trisha Mason, the Languedoc-based director of Validus Financial Services, which specialises in arranging French mortgages for overseas buyers, witnessed the southern French property boom triggered by the opening of cheap routes.

"Nowhere was this more evident that in Limousin, where Buzz and, when they collapsed, Ryanair operated flights to Limoges, a region that had always boasted some of the cheapest properties in France because of its inaccessibility,'' Mason says.

"British buyers flocked there to buy old farmhouses and prices shot up, generally by about 25 per cent as soon as a new airline route was announced - and that continued for at least four years, meaning a 100 per cent increase overall,'' says Mason, who is now selling her exquisitely renovated Roman farmhouse, Mas du Poet, in Uzes for pounds 1.93 million.

Southern France's Languedoc region has recently been put on the map by Ryanair. Now tiny local airports such as Beziers and Carcassonne see a constant flow of British commuters making the most of 1p flights.

"I'm sure if Ryanair pulled out of Carcassonne it would have an adverse effect, although Beziers is only an hour's drive away,'' comments Shaun McLoughlin, who rents out a beautiful three-bedroom stone Villa des Rosiers (pictured, top) half an hour from Carcassonne (www.villa-france-minervois.com) and lives next door. "This is our first operational year and we are surprised at the level of business, with 17 confirmed weeks and eight for next year.''

According to Julian Cunningham of Knight Frank estate agency, the top end of the market isn't affected greatly by the loss of low-cost flight routes. "But at the entry level of around pounds 160,000, losing a route has a massive impact, particularly on buyers who depend on rental income,'' he says.

But the loss of a low-cost air route now, Mason says, may not hit the Languedoc region as badly as some might expect. "Around 40 per cent of property buyers in France are buying to live there, so the only impact will be that it becomes harder or more expensive for people to visit them,'' she says. "We have also seen growing disillusionment with low-cost airlines as the additional costs increase, so many buyers have returned to road and rail.''

Simon Munro Kerr has given those who rent his Spanish cortijo (www.lajarilla.net), a 200-year-old farmhouse and three cottages in the Andalusian mountains (pictured, top right), another option. Besides being within a two-hour drive of Malaga, Almeria and Granada airports, all served by low-cost airlines, La Jarilla also comes with its own helipad.

"I found myself virtually equidistant between three airports, so the loss of one airline server does not influence holidaymakers here unduly,'' he says.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #1636
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Ryanair rejects court ruling on 'handling fees'
8 August 2009
Irish Times

RYANAIR SAYS it has no intention of abandoning “handling charges” it imposes when passengers pay by debit or credit cards in spite of a German court ruling challenging the practice.

The airline also insists the additional charges are optional, as they are not imposed on customers who pay with a Visa Electron card. However, Visa Electron cards are not available in the Republic of Ireland.

The airline is appealing the decision of a Berlin court that the charges are inadmissible unless Ryanair offers a charge-free method of payment.

“This decision is not legally binding, and it is being appealed anyway. It said we don’t offer an alternative method of payment, but we do: Visa Electron,” said a spokesman.

In Ireland Ryanair charges €10 per return flight when a customer pays by debit or credit card; the charge applies for each passenger travelling, even though only one transaction is involved. Aer Lingus imposes a similar €10 per return flight per passenger “handling fee” for debit- or credit-card bookings, also with the exception of those made by Visa Electron.

About 25 million of Ryanair’s 67 million passengers each year book using Visa Electron cards, the airline claims, including an unspecified number of bookings from Ireland.

Electron cards are not available here or in many European countries, according to a spokesman for Visa in Ireland. “They belong to history,” he said.

The Ryanair spokesman continued to insist that Visa Electron cards were available in Ireland and said he had one. He declined to provide details.

Ryanair says its average fare, including all charges and one piece of luggage, is €37.

Under pressure from the EU and British authorities, most airlines, including the two main Irish ones, have made their websites more transparent, so a flight’s overall cost is clear early in the booking process, with all charges displayed and no opt-out boxes for optional services.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 06:47 AM   #1637
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EasyJet to be prosecuted in France for labour law breaches
19 August 2009
Agence France Presse

Low-cost airline easyJet is to be prosecuted on charges of violating French labour law by failing to declare staff employed at Paris airports under British contracts, court officials said Wednesday.

The airline has been under investigation since 2006 over the legal status of some 170 workers then based at Orly airport south of Paris and was ordered on August 5 to stand trial, said the state prosecutor's in Creteil near Paris.

It is accused of failing to declare workers in Orly between June 2003 and December 2006. If found guilty it could face a bill for several million euros in unpaid French social security and health insurance contributions.

No date has been set for the hearing at which the carrier will answer charges of concealing employment, hampering staff representation and failing to register business activities in France, an official said.

Under a government decree adopted in November 2006, low-cost airlines with bases in France are obliged to comply with French labour laws.

France's highest court in 2007 rejected appeals by both easyJet and Ryanair, which argued that their cabin staff worked for company headquarters outside France and were not subject to French law.

Orly, according to easyJet, was merely a "rest area" for its workers, with the planes their actual workplaces.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #1638
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homem View Post
Ryanair flights are finally very dear !

I am far from rich and when I travel, I try to do at the best price. But what is the true price of a trip with Ryanair, have you ever thought?

-They only use secondary airports often have an architecture of industrial hangar with comfort and facilities very limited.
-The time needed to reach these airports and the price of the shuttle buses (minimum 10 euros, mostly around 15 !)
-The overall "quality" of the Company :at Ryanair everything is ugly, kitsch, ultra-cheap:
*Hostesses' uniforms (they must pay with their own money!) Are elegant enough for road works, but surely not for air hostesses (personally, I like watching them: this is part of the pleasure of flying )
*Harassment of those hotesses to sell you all kinds of things you do not need (even lottery tickets! It is missing more than carpets and kebabs ...). Everything in English only of course ,even if you are on a flight Italy- Spain or Estonia-Germany...

**But these are details compared to the rest. On several occasions crews informed me discretly on the failings of the company safety.
**Those who wants to work on that company must themselves pay for the training given by the company! 1500 Euros for an unemployed Poles who wants to find a job, it's huge!
And it is outrageous to pay for work, not to mention ridiculous wages and poor social conditions...
**Furthermore, this company only goes where they are heavily subsidized by local authorities. Ryanair never hesitate to put in concurrence two platforms for raising the stakes. The airport that pays the most has the honor to receive the Ryanair flights.
Who paies these subventions ? You, me .
Often, despite the commitments made with the authority that subsidize them (with our money), they leave the platform because the benefits are not commensurate with their calculations.
They already had several lawsuits because of this piracy (South Brussels, Strasbourg ...) but continue to ransom our taxes across Europe !

-Result: company personnel working under shameful conditions , passengers are treated like cattle (or sheat if you prefer...)
And our taxes are used to pay their benefits (not knowing the crisis).
They are the main beneficiaries of the current crisis.

Since I realized that their prices are finally expensive (price of ticket + extras: baggage, registration, credit card supplement+ price and time of the shuttle ...)
Since I understood that they are by far the worst low-cost, while finally as expensive as others .
= Travel with SkyEurope, Myair or Transavia and see the difference!
Since I understood how my taxes pays their benefits by the subsidies paid by our local authorities to Ryanair...
And because I don't really appreciate to be treated like shit when I fly and travel , I decided to boycott Ryanair.

I always travel as much, finally without spending more. But I feel much better in-flight.
Before ryr bad excuse for an airliner = tickets at 1500€

After ryr = ryr at 25€+taxes ... others at 100/200€


Gotta luv' Ryr ... even if you don't fly el'cheapo with them ...
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Old August 27th, 2009, 05:46 PM   #1639
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Aer Lingus sees new Ryanair bid, response unclear

DUBLIN, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Aer Lingus expects Irish rival Ryanair to return with a fresh takeover offer in the future, Chief Financial Officer Sean Coyle said on Thursday, adding that Aer Lingus' response to any new bid was unclear.

"Ryanair will always come back with a bid, Ryanair from the point of view of having a (near) 30 percent shareholding will continue to pursue the company," Coyle told reporters.

Coyle, a former Ryanair executive, said he had "no idea" if Aer Lingus would resist any fresh bids, adding that it was up to shareholders to evaluate the merits of any offer.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 06:10 AM   #1640
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EasyJet to downsize in UK, over 250 jobs affected

LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Low-cost airline easyJet Plc plans to switch some resources from Britain to continental Europe, blaming high airport costs and a rise in passenger taxes and saying the move would affect over 250 jobs.

The company said on Thursday it planned to cut its flying programme at London's Luton airport by a fifth and would close its East Midlands base.

It also plans to cut the number of flight crew at Belfast, Bristol, Newcastle and Stansted.

"The rise in APD (airport passenger duty) hits regional airports hardest and increases the pressure to move aircraft to mainland Europe," Chief Executive Andy Harrison said.

"The government seems to think that APD is a free lunch. It isn't; it costs jobs in the UK."

EasyJet also criticised Abertis, the Spanish operator of Luton airport, and its owner, Luton Borough Council, for a 25 percent hike in airport costs over the past three years.

The airline said it remained committed to its medium-term goal to grow its network by around 7.5 percent a year and hoped to redeploy as many staff as possible.

A spokeswoman said 120 employees would be affected by the closure of East Midlands airport and around 40 by the planned reduction in flight crews.

She added around 100 of the firm's 530 staff in Luton could be affected by the decision to redeploy some aircraft to continental Europe.

EasyJet also reported a 4.7 percent increase in passenger numbers in August to 4.8 million.

At 1055 GMT, its shares were up 0.3 percent at 316-1/2 pence.
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