Cuts in flights irks airline head

Aug. 8, 2007 at 8:58 PM
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ROME, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Ryanair's chief executive has accused Italian authorities of reducing flights to Rome's smaller airport to support Alitalia, the ailing national airline.

Michael O'Leary said during a news conference in Rome that Italian air transportation officials were "trying to sustain the terminally ill Alitalia by creating obstacles to low prices and competition."

O'Leary said the Irish-based airline had filed an appeal with the Regional Administrative Tribunal of the Lazio Region regarding thee agency's decision to reduce the number of daily takeoffs and landings from Ciampino from 138 to 100 beginning in November.

The Italian Civil Aviation Authority recently announced the number of flights in and out of the smaller Ciampino airport would be reduced and some low-cost flights would be moved to Rome's larger airport, Fiumicino, The Financial Times reported Wednesday. The agency said the action was in response to complaints by area residents about noise and pollution.

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