Airlines hike up prices already


IRISH FANS hoping to fly to Poland for Euro 2012 will already find themselves faced with considerably inflated prices in and out of the relevant venues next summer.

Should the Republic of Ireland be selected in Group A or C when the draw is made in Kiev this evening, fans will be targeting flights to either Poznan or Wroclaw, but, according to Ryanair, demand has already seen those prices rise.

“One of the problems is that the European Championships are on at the peak of summer and we won’t be raising those prices,” said Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary last week.

Despite this commitment, prices on the routes have been inflated all week, with a flight into Poznan in June already costing three times as much as it would in August. Comparisons with other routes and months show similar results.

It is common practice to raise prices when and where there is heightened demand and Ryanair are not alone. Aer Lingus prices to Warsaw and Krakow in June, for instance, were this week nearly twice the price they are for other summer months.

Ryanair issued a pre-emptive statement yesterday insisting “it will not ‘hike-up’ fares after Friday’s European Championship draw”, but with the “lowest fares” available from €188 they already rose before the draw when compared to peak months.

In addition, demand will inevitably rise if and when Ireland are drawn in Poland and those fares, Ryanair warned, “will sell out fast”.

In response to queries yesterday evening, a Ryanair spokesman said it was a simple case of supply and demand and “all nine Polish routes (from Dublin) are heavily booked already”.

However, The Irish Times was unable to book even a one-way flight to Poznan, either online or by telephone, until yesterday.

As of yesterday, return journeys to Poznan, where the Republic of Ireland would be based for two games on June 10th and 14th if drawn in Group C before heading to Gdansk for a final first round match on June 18th, were costing €418.35 between Friday, June 8th and Friday, June 15th.

The same trip on similar dates in May and July would cost €123.87 and €146.35 respectively, while a one-way fare to the city in August was costing €88.88 (after taxes) compared to €217.88 in June.

A round trip to Wroclaw for the 10 days surrounding Ireland’s three group games were they to be drawn in Group A with co-hosts Poland, were available for €420.12 after taxes. On comparable dates in May the cost was as low as €148.12, compared to €178.12 in July and €201.12 in August.

A similar situation existed on the Gdansk route, where getting in and out for just one game would cost €420.89, compared to €115.87 in May, €148.89 in July and €148.89 in August.

Ryanair have reassured fans they will be exploring the option of increasing flights into Poland in June, but gave no reassurance prices would remain the same as those currently available.

As it stands, no Irish airline operates flights to Ukraine and Ryanair, for one, do not intend to.

“The Ukraine we have no interest in,” said O’Leary recently. “It is outside of Europe. We are not even free to fly to the Ukraine.

“We would have to apply to my friends in the Department of Transport for permission to the Ukraine. They would ask their friends in Aer Lingus whether they thought it was a good idea.”