Ryanair seeks injunction for Rome cuts

Ryanair has applied to the regional administrative court in
Lazio for an immediate injunction to overturn the attempt by ENAC to restrict
capacity at Rome Ciampino Airport by almost 30% from November 2007.Ryanair believes that in
so doing the Italian Authorities are trying to support the
terminally ill Alitalia by blocking low fares and competition in Rome.
Ryanair has also submitted a complaint to the European Commission asking
it to immediately intervene on behalf of consumers to prohibit this reduction of capacity at Rome’s secondary airport.

According their press office, Ryanair claims that for the past year ENAC has been trying by various means to
restrict the low fares and choice offered by airlines at Rome Ciampino
as follows:

*      False claims about a night time noise issue at the airport,
despite the fact Ryanair, which uses the quietest and youngest aircraft
in Ciampino, does not operate any night time flights at Ciampino. All of
Ryanair’s repeated requests for a detailed noise study at Rome Ciampino
Airport to expose the truth of this matter have been ignored. Such a
study would have proved conclusively that noise problems at Rome
Ciampino are being caused by military aircraft operating at night and
have nothing to do with the commercial movements of airlines like
Ryanair or Easyjet.

*      In May last year ENAC imposed an unlawful PSO monopoly between
Rome and Alghero forcing Ryanair to stop offering low fares and choice
on this route. Again, there were no grounds for this blatant attempt to
protect Alitalia and the European Commission has now instructed the
Italian Government to reverse this unlawful decision.

*      Now ENAC has issued an order that capacity at Rome Ciampino
airport is to be reduced by 30% to just 100 movements per day from
November. They have also ordered that the airport must close for at
least 5 months for unsubstantiated ‘essential’ runway works and that
commercial flights should not return to Ciampino upon completion. There
is no evidence that there is any problem with the runway in Ciampino.
Airlines were not consulted about ENAC’s claimed need to undertake these
runway works. Furthermore ENAC have made no attempt to explain why
commercial flights should be not be allowed to return to Ciampino upon
completion of these works.

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Speaking today in Rome, Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary said;

“This latest unlawful attempt by the Italian Authorities to restrict
capacity and block low fares at Rome Ciampino airport is bad for Italian
consumers/visitors. If Ryanair and the other low fare airlines using
Rome Ciampino are removed unlawfully by ENAC, Italian consumers/visitors
will be forced to pay Alitalia’s rapaciously high fares and fuel
surcharges while tourism in Rome will suffer irreparable damage.

“We have asked the Lazio Court for an injunction to stop this unlawful
reduction in capacity at Ciampino so that Ryanair can continue to
operate on its existing network of routes this summer and to offer new
services. Without this injunction the following routes would have to be
terminated: Rome to Madrid; Rome to Saragoza and flights to Glasgow and
Madrid would have to be drastically reduced. Ryanair would also be
prevented from re-launching the Rome to Alghero route - a route it was
forced to terminate due to an unlawful PSO imposed by ENAC. Ryanair has
also called on the European Commission to intervene immediately on
behalf of Italian consumers/visitors who should not be denied flights or
forced to pay higher fares because of these unlawful efforts to provide
further illegal state support to Alitalia”.
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