Business Irish

Sunday 15 December 2019

Ryanair clashes with transport minister on airport fees

Minister for Transport Pascal Donohoe
Minister for Transport Pascal Donohoe
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair has told Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe that it will seek a judicial review of a ministerial order he issued this week related to airport charges unless it's withdrawn by next Tuesday.

Mr Donohoe issued a ministerial order to the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) instructing it that it had to protect Dublin Airport's financial viability when determining the maximum passenger charge that the airport will be allowed to levy between 2015 and 2019.

Ryanair alleges that the minister has "grossly exceeded" his statutory powers.

The CAR issued a draft determination in May that proposed the maximum amount that could be charged in the period should be cut by 22pc.

The maximum charge is currently €10.68 per passenger.

But semi-state Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) lashed out at the proposals.

Its chief executive, Kevin Toland, claimed last week that reducing the charge would "stifle passenger growth".

The DAA also wants more money than the CAR has estimated it needs for capital investment, including a refurbishment of Terminal 1.

Despite seeking a higher maximum charge per passenger, the DAA has pledged not to raise the current charge beyond the rate of inflation for the next five years.

In a letter to acting commissioner for aviation regulation John Spicer, Mr Donohoe said that the CAR must be mindful of the government's draft national aviation policy that was published in May.

He said it was essential that Dublin Airport should have the "terminal and runway facilities to promote direct international air links to key world markets".

In a letter to the minister yesterday from Ryanair's head of legal and regulatory affairs, Juliusz Komorek, Ryanair alleges that Mr Donohoe has "grossly exceeded" the powers granted to him under the Aviation Regulation Act.

"I now put you on notice that unless you revoke the direction to the extent it is unlawful, by close of business on Tuesday 23 September, Ryanair will apply for a judicial review of the direction," Mr Komorek warns.

Mr Komorek argues in the letter that the Aviation Regulation Act does not enable the minister to issue specific instructions to CAR or instructions "that would hinder the CAR's ability to exercise its functions" in compliance with regulatory objectives.

Irish Independent

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