Ryanair says EU minimum flight pricing will not work
Ryanair, renowned as a budget-friendly airline, has firmly stated that the European Union (EU) will not introduce minimum pricing or flight caps, due to the adverse impact it would have on financially disadvantaged people, deeming such a move as politically infeasible.
Eddie Wilson, the Chief Executive of Ryanair DAC, said that it is "politically impossible" for the EU to enforce minimum pricing or flight restrictions for the next five to ten years.
"People require air connectivity for journeys exceeding 5-600 kilometres, for swift travel, and this extends beyond leisure trips or discretionary travel. Air travel serves as a necessity for numerous purposes," said Wilson.
These remarks come in the wake of the Dutch government's decision to proceed with plans to reduce flight operations at Schiphol Airport, aiming to mitigate noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The decision entails reducing aircraft movements at the hub to 460,000 annually, pending approval from the EU.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has criticized the Dutch government's decision, highlighting the potential adverse effects on the economy, and has threatened legal action. ACI Europe has also condemned the move, emphasizing its potential impact on air travel in the upcoming year, particularly as the industry was recuperating from the COVID pandemic.
Furthermore, French Transport Minister Clement Baune recently urged fellow EU member states to support the initiative of establishing minimum flight prices in Europe as a measure to curb the aviation sector's contribution to climate change. EU officials informed Reuters that countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium might align with France on this matter.
Ryanair, Europe's largest airline in terms of passenger volume, advocates an alternative approach, emphasizing the need for the airline industry to attain zero carbon emissions by promoting sustainable aviation fuels and deploying larger, quieter aircraft.
"This transition won't happen overnight, and it certainly won't be achieved by grandiose announcements like France proposing bans or introducing minimum pricing. Such measures merely limit the accessibility of air travel for economically disadvantaged individuals, a stance that doesn't resonate well in France," explained Eddie Wilson.
The passenger count for Ryanair exhibited steady growth from 2011 to 2022, with numbers soaring from 75.8 million passengers in 2011 to 148.6 million passengers in 2019. However, the figures took a hit in 2020, plummeting to 27.5 million due to the pandemic, only to recover to 97 million passengers in 2021/2022.
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