Today in the pressWednesday 26 February 2014 09.07
FLIGHTS TO US WILL COST JUST €10 ON RYANAIR - O'LEARY - Ryanair will sell €10 flights to the US when it finally manages to get the long-haul aircraft needed, airline chief Michael O'Leary has said. The airline has a business plan ready for launching transatlantic flights but admits it will be several years before it can get the planes needed, says the Irish Independent. Mr O'Leary told the Irish Hotels Federation conference in Meath yesterday that Ryanair would offer €10 flights to Boston and New York and US$10 (€7.30) seats back to Europe. However, passengers would pay extra for everything from meals to baggage. The flights would not operate from Dublin but would fly from 12-14 major European cities to 12-14 major US destinations and a full service would begin within six months of Ryanair getting the aircraft to do so. Mr O'Leary said if they opened just in Dublin, for example, Aer Lingus would "dump on them" to protect their transatlantic route. "We can make money on 99 cent fares in Europe - not every seat will be €10 of course, there will also need to be a very high number of business or premium seats," he said.
PLANS FOR HISTORIC DUBLIN MARKET TO BE LODGED NEXT MONTH - Plans for the redevelopment of Dublin’s Victorian fruit and vegetable market as a continental-style food market are to be lodged by the city council within weeks, writes the Irish Times. About 80 pitches, a combination of indoor and outdoor permanent and temporary stalls will be available to traders from September next year, following a €3 million construction project due to begin later this year. The council has been renovating the historic market hall between Capel Street and the Four Courts in Dublin’s north inner city since 2012. This work is now 85% complete, said executive manager of the council’s planning department Jim Keogan, and the council is ready to seek planning permission for the redevelopment scheme. The building, built in 1892 and listed on the Record of Protected Structures, has 6,000sq m of internal space, devoted to wholesale. As part of the development, the wholesalers, who serve surrounding restaurants and shops with fruit and vegetables, will move to the western half of the building.
BOOKMAKER'S IRISH PROFITS FALL 28% AFTER 'DIFFICULT YEAR' - Operating profits at Ladbrokes’ Irish operations fell by over 28% last year, to £10.2m (€12.4m), hampered by general economic trends and the continuation of what the company called “a highly competitive trading environment”. In what Ladbrokes referred to as “a difficult year” for its Irish operations, its operating costs here rose by nearly 7% to £62.3m, reports the Irish Examiner. Net revenue was up by 1.1% at £80.9m, with gross win marginally up by just under 1% to £83m. “Although we have seen amounts staked decline, as well as an unfavourable set of results at Cheltenham [Ladbrokes Ireland won £2m less at last year’s festival, than it did in 2012], gross win decline, of £1.5m on a constant currency basis, was mitigated by a broader product offering and enhanced trading technology and processes,” the company said regarding Ireland. Earlier this month, a spokesperson for Ladbrokes said that the company’s pending store closure plan - between 40 and 50 outlets are set to close in the UK this year - will not affect its Irish retail portfolio.
CREDIT SUISSE 'HELPED US TAX EVADERS' - Credit Suisse made false claims in US visa applications, conducted business with clients in secret elevators and shredded documents to help more than 22,000 American customers avoid US taxes, according to a scathing report by a US congressional committee. Credit Suisse handed account statements to one client tucked inside a Sports Illustrated magazine as part of its “cloak and dagger tactics”, according to Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The bank also helped clients create offshore shell entities to avoid taxes and aided them in structuring transactions to fall below the $10,000 amount that would alert the government, according to the subcommittee’s 175-page report, released on Tuesday says the Financial Times. It said Credit Suisse created an office at Zurich airport where more than 10,000 US accounts were held, known by the code name SIO85. Bankers made 150 trips to the US from 2002 to 2008 to aid in the tax evasion efforts. At its peak, the assets of the more than 22,000 customers totalled as much as $12 billion. In total, about 1,800 bankers were involved in helping clients avoid taxes, leading Senator John McCain, the subcommittee’s top Republican, to call the practices “systematic”.