Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair today (7 April) confirmed it will appeal to the High Court against a regulator-approved 50% increase in Dublin Airport”s check-in desk charges, which it says have tripled from ”8,000 ($12,500) to ”25,000 in three years.
The Commission for Aviation Regulation has also preliminarily approved a new charge for self-service check-in kiosk rentals, which until now have been free.
Ryanair CEO Michael O”Leary said: ”[Regulation commissioner] Cathal Guiomard has no credibility as an independent regulator and it is time he resigned or was dismissed. He is a regulatory poodle, rubber stamping unjustified price increases and double-charging at the Government-owned Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) Monopoly.
”This expensive and time consuming legal action would not be necessary if the Regulator was complying with his statutory duty to "protect the reasonable interests of users" from DAA monopoly abuse. However, if this incompetent Regulator and the overpaid, overstaffed, under-worked regulatory regime won”t protect airlines and consumers from this rampant monopoly abuse, then perhaps the courts will.”
And an airline spokesman told ABTN that the appeal would be submitted within the next week, and then it could be anywhere between ”a month and a year” before any outcome.
He said the main complaint was that airport users were not consulted properly about the price rises.
”We had no opportunity to comment - the decision was made last month, and the so-called consultation process was in the preceeding two or three months, but there was no fair process involved. The regulator then refused to publish the DAA”s reasons because they were commercially sensitive - but the DAA has no competitors, so how can they be?
”It”s very similar to what happens in the UK with BAA - where ridiculous increases way above the rate of inflation are also rubber stamped by an ineffective regulator.”
Ryanair has called for the resignations of both Guiomard and the Civil Aviation Authority”s group director of economic regulation, Dr Harry Bush.
”Even the CAA recognises the kiosk space is already paid for in BAA”s terminal charges, but in Ireland the regulator is so useless he”s effectively trying to charge twice for it,” said the Ryanair spokesman.
A Commission for Aviation Regulation spokesman told ABTN: ”We don”t want to make any comment at the moment, but we will be making some sort of response shortly.”