Ryanair chief slams Government at hangar launch
Published 20/05/2010 | 15:36
Budget airline Ryanair accused the Government today of losing out on 200 jobs after it announced plans for a new maintenance hangar and training centre in Germany.
Chief executive Michael O'Leary said the €25m facility at Frankfurt Hahn Airport, including a 16-room cabin crew training unit, is being built in place of the investment offered for Dublin earlier this year.
In Mainz to mark the announcement, Mr O'Leary said: "While we are pleased to announce this new investment in Germany and Frankfurt Hahn Airport, I regret that the Irish Government stood idly by and did nothing to win these new jobs for Ireland.
"The Irish Government talks a lot about competitiveness, but is short on action."
Ryanair hit out at the Government claiming it should have accepted its plans for Hangar Six in Dublin Airport.
The airline was embroiled for months in a bitter dispute over the unit, which is leased to Aer Lingus, as it attempted to set up a base maintenance facility in Ireland.
Opponents of the plan claimed Mr O'Leary had turned down an earlier opportunity to bid for a lease on the hangar and was making the move to create space for a dedicated Ryanair terminal in Dublin some time in the future. The airline has rejected the claims.
The north Dublin area has suffered hugely in the last two years after leading maintenance firm SR Technics announced it was pulling out of the airport with the loss of more than 1,000 well-paid highly skilled jobs.
Since the redundancies were enforced Ryanair has opened another maintenance facility in Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Scotland, employing 200 workers.
Mr O'Leary said the Government had lost out on the investment while hundreds of workers struggle on the dole.
"Sadly in Ireland, we are stuck with a Government which likes talking about the "smart economy" but prefers implementing 'dumb policy'," he said.
Ryanair said it will build a new two-bay aircraft hangar and house two simulators and a 16-room cabin crew training centre at the new centre from the end of 2010. It will take the airline's workforce in Frankfurt to about 600.
Fergus O'Dowd, Fine Gael's transport spokesman, said the overseas investment was a blow to the former SR Technics staff.
"It's a tragedy that no one in Government was able to sit down with the warring parties and thrash out a solution," Mr O'Dowd said.
"Up to 500 jobs were initially on offer. Unfortunately, a combination of incompetence and disinterest by a string of Cabinet ministers meant the opportunity was lost."