Ryanair 'offered guarantees over airport hangar use'
Budget airline Ryanair today claimed it offered the Government guarantees last year over the use of a hangar at Dublin Airport which could have secured hundreds of jobs.
Chief executive Michael O'Leary issued details of a letter sent to enterprise chiefs at IDA Ireland committing the carrier to only heavy aircraft maintenance at the sought-after building.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said there was an open competition for hangar six last summer which Ryanair did not enter, and it was subsequently leased to rival carrier Aer Lingus.
But Mr O'Leary has published a letter dated July 2009 to IDA's Barry O'Leary which states the airline wanted the lease and offered to agree to any restrictions on what the site could have been used for.
"The Taoiseach and this Government must now explain why, because of their inaction last July/August, they lost 200 maintenance jobs to Glasgow Prestwick last week and in the coming weeks will lose up to 300 more jobs to another European airport," the airline boss said.
Ryanair opened a maintenance base in the Scottish airport last week.
The airline, the Government and the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) have been embroiled in a public row this week over Mr O'Leary's wish to takeover hangar six, set up aircraft maintenance and create about 300 jobs.
Mr O'Leary said the investment would have created 500 jobs if it had been accepted last summer just months after the SR Technics plant shut and 1,000 workers were laid off.
The Taoiseach said current tenants Aer Lingus cannot be asked to leave without giving 24 months notice.
Mr O'Leary has also warned that negotiations with two other European cities are at an advanced stage.
He said the letter to the IDA would dispel claims that Ryanair has a hidden agenda to eventually develop a new terminal on the site for its own planes.
"These claims are false and the Govt knows that they are false," the airline said.