Sunday 28 May 2017

Ryanair to hike prices again over carbon levy

Michael O'Leary
Michael O'Leary

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

RYANAIR is hitting passengers with another new charge.

The airline yesterday announced a 25 cent levy per passenger for each one-way flight to take effect for all bookings made from next Tuesday.

Ryanair blamed it on the EU's new "eco-looney" tax aimed at cutting carbon emissions, which it said would cost its passengers €15m-€20m this year.

However, Aer Lingus said last night that it had no plans to levy any such charge.

"While ultimately all prices are set in accordance with our cost base, at the moment it is not at all clear what the impact of this new Emissions Trading Scheme will be as carbon prices are fluctuating and are currently very low," an Aer Lingus spokesperson said.

The new ETS scheme requires airlines to purchase carbon credits for all emissions above those produced in 2010, to help tackle global warming.

With 70 million passengers flying Ryanair each year, the cost to customers of the new levy will be over €17.5m a year.

Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said that its current estimate was the ETS scheme would cost Ryanair €18m this year based on flying 80 million passengers, 20pc of whom would escape the levy because they travelled on promotional fares.

"Aer Lingus has a fuel surcharge and we don't, so they are not the blue-eyed boy in this," he said.

"This new ETS tax is the latest in a long line of cost increases imposed on Europe's air passengers by the European Union, which reduces the competitiveness of EU air transport with yet another misguided 'environmental' tax," he said.

MEP Jim Higgins slammed the charge from Ryanair, noting the airline was also the only one that had imposed a levy linked to their customer care obligations under EU law.

"This is a complete joke. Next thing Ryanair will introduce an EU safety charge as the EU has imposed certain safety standards which all airlines have to meet... I wonder is Mr O'Leary suggesting that airlines should have no regulation at all by the EU," he said.

Ryanair has repeatedly angered consumers by introducing charges and raising old ones -- just before Christmas it hiked baggage charges by 25pc and boarding card reissue fees by 50pc.

Emirates, Etihad and Delta airlines also signalled they will pass on higher fares to passengers, and there is opposition from Chinese and US airlines, who will also have to pay it for flights to and from Europe.

Irish Independent

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