Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, briefed (22-Sep-2010) shareholders on an Irish tourism recovery plan, which the carrier believes will reverse the record traffic declines at the main Irish airports over the past two years. Ryanair has submitted proposals to restore Ireland’s competitiveness as a low cost tourist destination, which include:
- Scrapping the EUR10 tourist tax;
- Breaking up the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) airport monopoly by selling off Cork and Shannon airports;
- Break up the Dublin Airport monopoly by forcing the DAA to sell Terminal 1 and Terminal 2;
- Selling off the DAA’s non core assets, including Aer Rianta Intl. and Dublin Airport City, and using the proceeds of these sales to pay down the DAA’s EUR1.2 billion debt;
- The remaining Irish Government owned DAA would run the runways, ramps and carparks at Dublin Airport on a cost recovery basis until any remaining debt has been paid off;
- Scrap the Dublin Airport Metro, to save EUR5 billion.
In return, Ryanair has offered to massively increase its current traffic at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports by delivering 6 million additional annual passengers (over a five year period). [more]
Ryanair: “Irish tourism and the Irish economy can be rescued, but only if there is a return to low cost access and a break up of the high cost DAA monopoly by allowing competition to succeed where the DAA has failed. This year, while the Irish airports suffer a second year of double digit traffic declines, airports all over Spain, Italy, France and Germany have returned to growth thanks to lower costs and Ryanair’s new aircraft, new routes and new traffic. Ireland is a small peripheral economy on the edge of Europe. In such an open economy, the Irish Government has little influence or control over many industries. However, tourism is one that is extremely price sensitive and responds rapidly to cost reductions. Over the past two years the cost of Ireland’s tourism product has been transformed with lower hotel rates, lower restaurant and pub prices, and lower green fees. This good work has been wasted by the doubling and trebling of access costs, which has seen Ireland suffer two years of record traffic declines. Ryanair can rescue Irish tourism and we can revive the Irish economy. All that is needed is political leadership, and Ryanair’s investment and then Irish tourism can resume its place as the fastest growing sector in the Irish economy,” Michael O'Leary, CEO. Source: Ryanair, 22-Sep-2010.