Fiery skies above Italy. Back and forth between O’Leary (Ryanair) and Di Palma (Enac) on oligopoly and high ticket prices

Fiery skies above Italy.  Back and forth between O’Leary (Ryanair) and Di Palma (Enac) on oligopoly and high ticket prices

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The president of the Ryanair group, Michael O’Learyreturns to thunder against the president of ENAC Pierluigi Di Palma. He had already done so in September 2023 by asking for his resignation, he returned to the topic two days ago and today O’Leary put his helmet back on his head by dedicating an open letter to Di Palma in which he accuses him of “false declarations on a non-existent oligopoly in ‘Italian aviation, on non-existent 1000 euro tickets for Sicily and on non-existent algorithms’ which would allow airlines to change prices depending on the user.

The outburst comes after Di Palma asked O’Leary to “respect Italian institutions and those who represent them. Our task – continued Di Palma – is to always stand by the citizen-passenger, protecting him in every aspect, including the cost of transport”.

“If as president of Enac you demand respect – writes the number one of the Irish company – you should stop making false and absurd statements on topics you know nothing about. There is no oligopoly in Italy and low fares continue to be widely available” to travellers.

O’Leary returns to one of his historic battlehorses: the municipal tax on boarding fees, the abolition of which he has been calling for for years. This is an additional fee that varies between 6 and 10 euros depending on the city, and is applied directly to the ticket price.

A few days ago Assaeroporti also publicly asked Parliament and the government to progressively reduce the tax, bringing it to 2.5 euros over five years. Assaeroporti’s accusation is that the surcharge “not only risks aggravating the phenomenon of high flight prices and depressing the market, but is now actually foreign to the objectives of the original rule”.

In more colorful tones it is a position very similar to that of O’Leary, according to whom Di Palma “would spend his time better if he encouraged the Italian government to abolish this unfair tax”.

Meanwhile, Ryanair has announced its March performance: 13.6 million passengers transported (+8% compared to March 2023) and a load factor stable at 93%. In the past month the Irish company operated over 77 thousand flights, with 950 trips canceled due to the conflict in Gaza. In the twelve months, passengers transported rose to 183.7 million (+9%, equal to 15 million more people).

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