Ryanair angry over 30% rise in air traffic control charges

New air traffic control tower and last year’s cuts behind ‘temporary’ increase, IAA says

Ryanair blames Cork Airport’s plan to carry out runway work in the autumn for closure of base.

Ryanair blames Cork Airport’s plan to carry out runway work in the autumn for closure of base.

 

Air traffic control charges have risen more than 30 per cent in the Republic this year, angering airline Ryanair.

Safety regulator, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), cut air traffic control charges early last year while maintaining essential services, a move the agency said aided airlines grounded by Covid-19 restrictions.

The authority confirmed on Tuesday that it temporarily increased terminal air traffic control charges by 32 per cent to €162.45 “from 2020 to 2021”.

A combination of charges for its new air traffic control tower at Dublin Airport and reversing last year’s cut explain the increase, according to the IAA.

Ryanair condemned the Government for “standing idly by” while the IAA increased air traffic control charges on January 1st.

“In a moment when Irish travel and tourism has collapsed, why is transport Minister Eamon Ryan allowing Irish air traffic control charges to explode by 32 per cent at a time when inflation is practically zero?” an airline spokesman asked.

The IAA said the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) could revise the charges during a consultation on air traffic control charges due this summer.

If the commission decides to reduce the charge, the IAA will have to refund airlines what they have overpaid since January 1st. However, the carriers will have to pay the difference to the safety authority if the CAR increases the levy.

The IAA noted that Ryanair knew of the process and had written to it and the CAR regarding the charges. The authority added that its unit fees were among Europe’s lowest.

Cork costs

Meanwhile, Ryanair clashed with Cork Airport over costs after the airline said it would not reopen a base it closed there last November until next winter at the earliest.

Ryanair blamed the airport’s plan to carry out runway work in the autumn, saying this would prevent aircraft from taking off and landing early in the morning or returning at night.

The carrier also said Cork was the most expensive of the Republic’s major airports.

Cork Airport said it was in talks with Ryanair and other airlines about possible incentives to allow it rebuild its business, which Government travel curbs have cut by 99 per cent.

“We will be tabling a generous incentive scheme, which will once again make charges at Cork Airport cheaper than those at Dublin Airport, to Ryanair and to other customers in the coming days,” a statement said.

The airport also said a majority of its airline customers favoured the plan to carry out work on its runway in September, October and November.