Ryanair accuses Govt of 'incompetence'

Friday 26 February 2010 11.03
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Hangar 6 - Complicated leasing arrangement
Hangar 6 - Complicated leasing arrangement
Michael O'Leary - Criticised lack of competition
Michael O'Leary - Criticised lack of competition

Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary has accused the Government of incompetence and of misrepresenting the position in regard to the controversial Hangar 6 to his airline.

This evening Mr O’Leary and the heads of Aer Lingus and of the Dublin Airport Authority argued their cases before the Oireachtas Transport Committee.

Mr O'Leary told the Committee that if the Government and the DAA removed Aer Lingus from Hangar 6, he would create 300 jobs.

However those employed would not all be direct employees, and they would not necessarily enjoy the pay rates they did while with the hangar’s previous tenant SR Technics.

Mr O'Leary criticised the fact there had been no competition for the hangar.

However he in turn faced criticism from Committee members for rejecting alternative hangars.

Aer Lingus boss Christoph Mueller did his best to explain the hangar's complicated ownership structure, which bordered on the absurd.

Mr Mueller explained that the airline effectively leases Hangar 6 from itself.

He would not disclose commercial details of the deal with the DAA, but stated categorically they would not be leaving.

Finally, DAA Chief Executive Declan Collier rejected suggestions of a sweetheart deal with Aer Lingus for Hangar 6.

Mr Collier defended the DAA’s own record on job creation, and said Ryanair's irrational insistence that only Hangar 6 would do seemed to rule out any chance of those jobs at Dublin Airport.

Former SR Technics workers protest

Earlier, a delegation of former workers at SR Technics held a meeting at the Department of Trade, Enterprise & Employment with departmental officials and an advisor to Tánaiste Mary Coughlan.

The meeting between lasted about 90 minutes.

About 80 former employees of SR Technics marched in protest in Dublin's city centre after which they delivered a letter to Ms Coughlan, who is also the Minister for Trade Enterprise and Employment.

A member of the delegation, former SR Technics' worker Chris Walker, said that the meeting was constructive and that three points were raised: funding for the re-training of workers, the pension plan at SR Technics and the use of Hangar 6.