Ryanair today (3rd February’04) welcomed the publication of the decision of the European Commission as it now means that the industry can at least focus on the issues instead of rumours and leaks from the Commission.
á This decision confirms that the European Commission intends to ÊÊincrease costs and air fares for consumers.
á The result of this decision is that the European Commission will ÊÊprevent publicly owned airports competing with privately owned ÊÊairports.
á The decision is an attack on all low fare airlines and publicly ÊÊowned airports and will equally affect Easyjet at Berlin ÊÊSchonefeld, Toulouse and Marseille, Lufthansa at Leipzig and ÊÊMunich, Flybe at Perpignan, Bergerac and La Rochelle for example.
á It is regrettable that the Commission is placing the complaints of ÊÊhigh cost airports and high fares airlines above the interests of ÊÊordinary consumers who want lower fares.
á The Commission has now confirmed that publicly owned airports ÊÊcan no longer compete with privately owned airports, and this ÊÊdecision is anticompetitive, anti consumer, will increase costs ÊÊwhich will in turn increase air fares.
Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive Officer of Ryanair said today in Brussels:
“It is impossible to envisage the Commission limiting the discounts or marketing support that Tesco, Carrefour, Aldi or Lidl negotiate in order to lower prices for consumers. It is impossible to envisage the Commission preventing McDonalds negotiating discounts from its suppliers in order to lower the cost of its meals to consumers.
“This decision will be appealed to the European Court. We believe the appeal will be supported by many other low fares airlines, regional airports and consumer groups. The European Commission should not be interfering in the operation of a free market. Charleroi airport was empty 5 years ago. If this ruling applied back then it would still be an empty airport today. Underused secondary and regional airports must discount to attract low fares customers. Both Brussels Charleroi and Ryanair are profitable at these discounted rates, and 2.5 million consumers annually now fly to /from Brussels Charleroi at the lowest fares in Europe thanks to these discounted routes.
“The only beneficiaries of this decision is the original Complainant, Brussels Zaventem Airport and the high fare carriers who fly there. They will now face reduced competition, and higher fares at Brussels Charleroi, thanks to the failure of the EU Commission to promote competition, lower fares and consumer interests.”