Ryanair refugee price hike claims are ‘completely false’, says O’Leary

Airline chief executive says ‘there are loads of cheap flights’ from Poland

Ryanair chief executive Micheal O'Leary has rejected claims the airline is profiteering from the plight of Ukrainian refugees seeking to move to different European countries.

The airline was criticised in trenchant terms by the Ukrainian ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko who accused the airline of hiking fares between Poland and Ireland for people from her country who are fleeing the war in her country.

She told the Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs on Tuesday that Ryanair had increased the price of flights from Krackow and Warsaw to Dublin in recent days.

She described the practice as “immoral”. She also revealed that she had sent a letter to Ryanair last week on the matter and it had not been answered.


Speaking at Cheltenham where he had a winner and a runner-up through his horses Delta Work and the popular Tiger Roll in the same race, Mr O'Leary said "there are loads of cheap flights out there".

He said there would be flights over the coming days priced at €20 and €50 one-way to different destinations in Europe from Poland where the majority of Ukrainian refugees were based.

“We already carrying thousands of refugees around Europe with fixed fares of €20 and €30 and €50. This story that we are hiking the fares out of Poland are completely false.

“We have low fares out of Poland available today, tomorrow and the next day, but if a flight fills, the last few fares will be sold at the highest fares. That’s how our business runs.”

Ryanair came in for fierce criticism at the committee hearing. Sinn Féin TD John Brady described the behaviour of the airline as "despicable" and said Ryanair should be called before the committee to explain its actions.

“Any business or company anywhere in the world seeking to capitalise on people fleeing for their lives is appalling,” he said.

Fianna Fáil Senator Gerry Horkan suggested that Ryanair should allow Ukrainian refugees from fly from country such as Poland, Romania and Moldova at cost price or free of charge.

He suggested Ryanair would get the money back when Ukraine becomes a free, independent country again.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times