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Tuesday 21 November 2017

DAA deliberately blocking jobs plan, says Ryanair

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

RYANAIR accused the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) of deliberately blocking its plans to create 300 jobs for out-of-work engineers at Dublin Airport's hangar six.

It claimed the DAA "lied" about its ability to assist its plan to set up a new maintenance operation there. But the DAA strongly denied Ryanair claims that it had the power to kick Aer Lingus out of the hangar and allow it to move in.

It insisted it did not have the legal authority to turf the airline out to make room for Michael O'Leary's proposed maintenance operation.

Ryanair wants the DAA to move Aer Lingus out of the former SR Technics hangar and sell it to them for a maintenance operation that would create 300 jobs.

The hangar -- which at 23,000sqm is the largest at Dublin Airport -- is being used by Aer Lingus for line maintenance of planes, rather than heavy maintenance for which it was purpose-built.

Ryanair claimed the hangar was under-utilised and published part of its own lease agreement for hangar one to prove the DAA had the power to make Aer Lingus leave.

The airline said a standard clause in its own lease agreement allowed the authority to terminate leases and relocate licencees.

It also released photos of what hangar six is currently being used for, which it claimed was "precisely nothing".

The low-budget carrier said the pictures, taken at 9am yesterday, showed there was no heavy maintenance work going on in the hangar at a time it should be full of aircraft.

Last night, chief executive Michael O'Leary called on the DAA to release a copy of the lease agreement for hangar six.

"The reason we won't deal with the DAA is it wants to build a hangar for us on the other side of the runway, so we can't use it, and then rent the building at a ludicrous rent.

"Our photos show it wouldn't take much to move them (Aer Lingus) out. You'd just have to close the staff canteen. These guys are just checking oil and tyre pressure."

He said he wanted hangar six because the other hangars were too small and Ryanair had a fleet of 200 planes, compared with Aer Lingus's 35.

Mr O'Leary said the fact that Aer Lingus had a long-term heavy maintenance contract for its fleet in France meant it did not need the hangar. He also alleged the DAA leased the hangar to Aer Lingus purely to block its request for the facility that would have created 500 jobs.

Irish Independent

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