Ryanair set to sue European airports

Feb. 1, 2004 at 1:20 PM

DUBLIN, Ireland, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Ryanair has announced it will sue all airlines flying into state-owned airports in Europe if the European Commission rules against the discount airline.

The European Commission is to rule Tuesday whether the Dublin, Ireland,-based Ryanair received illegal state aid from Charleroi Airport in Belgium, the Daily Telegraph reported Sunday.

Ryanair has discounts with some airports in Europe and turns those discounts into reduced fares for its passengers.

Michael O'Leary, the airline's chief executive officer, has written to other European discount airlines requesting they join the fight with the EC because most airlines receive some discounts at most European airports. O'Leary contends a ruling against Ryanair will be a setback for all the airlines.

While Ryanair's competitor, easyJet's Toby Nicol, said while 20 of the 39 airports his airline serves are state-owned and offer some sort of discount, those discounts are not as generous as those negotiated by Ryanair at Charleroi.

Said Nicol: "It is specifically the sort of deals that Michael O'Leary has struck that the EC is looking at. It is a Ryanair problem and he is trying to present it as everybody's problem."

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