Today in the pressWednesday 14 May 2014 09.30
RYANAIR HAS AXED A NET 222 ROUTES FOR THIS SUMMER - An analysis of internal aviation industry data has uncovered the full extent to which Ryanair has overhauled its low fares business model. The analysis, provided to The Irish Times by specialist aviation industry website anna.aero, illustrates the extent to which the airline is abandoning its old policy of pursuing growth primarily by flying to secondary airports located miles from major cities. Using data obtained from Innovata, the company to which most global airlines report changes to their route networks, the website has found that Ryanair axed a net 222 routes for this summer, even after launching 138 new routes. Most of the routes axed are to outlying airport. The analysis underscores how much the airline is shifting its capacity to some of the biggest airports in major European cities, which it typically eschewed until the company changed its model last year after a series of profit warnings. Using analysis of all of Ryanair’s routes for August 2014 compared with the same month last year, anna.aero says Ryanair axed its flights from 10 European airports, including Doncaster in England, as well as several tiny airports in southern Sweden. Capacity has been dramatically scaled back at scores of other airports. Another 10 airports have been added to its network, most of which are the main airports at some of the biggest cities in Europe, such as Rome’s Fiumicino, Brussels, Athens, Lisbon and Prague.
'PRESIDENT'S BOOKSHOP' RENEGOTIATES DEBTS - One of the country's most celebrated book businesses, Kenny's bookshop in Galway, has secured its future after negotiating a significant write-down on its crippling bank debt. Kenny's bookshop was established in 1940 in Galway and President Michael D Higgins has had close ties with the shop, says the Irish Independent. The business has been loss-making in recent years and has breached the terms of its banking facilities in 2011 and 2012. At the end of December 2012, Kenny's Bookshops & Art Galleries (Holdings) Ltd had loans and overdrafts totalling €8.52m. But according to a note filed with the accounts: "Subsequent to year end, the company concluded negotiations with its lenders and a settlement, which includes a significant debt waiver, was agreed. "This settlement is in the final stages of implementation. The remaining debt has been refinanced with another banking institution," the note says.
NOONAN WARNS AGAINST REFORM FATIGUE - Finance Minister Michael Noonan warned against the dangers of reform fatigue but said the euro zone must plough ahead with fiscal consolidation and measures to improve competitiveness, says the Irish Examiner. Speaking at an event in European Union House in Dublin last night, Mr Noonan said that there is a real risk that eurosceptic parties will make considerable gains in the forthcoming European Parliament elections as unpopular tax hikes and spending cuts increased social and political unrest in some countries. “Nevertheless, I believe that the majority of EU citizens want to build a stronger Europe, and that the centrist pro-EU parties stand to maintain the majority of seats in the European Parliament,” he said. “The fiscal consolidation and structural reforms undertaken in Europe have created the basis for recovery. As I have outlined, there are increasing signs that the European economy has reached a turning point. But it is too early to declare victory... We must continue working to modernise the European economy, for sustainable growth and job creation.” Eurosceptic parties such as Ukip in Britain and Marine Le Pen’s Front National in France are both on course to make significant gains in the parliamentary elections. Ms Le Pen wants to take France out of the single currency.
REPORT SLAMS US TOBACCO CHILD LABOUR - Children who cannot legally buy cigarettes harvest tobacco, use heavy machinery and climb into barn rafters to dry leaves. During shifts as long as 12 hours, these workers - some as young as seven - are exposed to nicotine, pesticides and extreme heat. These are not dispatches from Malawi or Kazakhstan, but a Human Rights Watch report on the US, where the world’s biggest tobacco companies, including British American Tobacco, Philip Morris International, Japan Tobacco and Altria, buy some of their leaves. The Financial Times says that the report highlights an area of reputational risk for an industry that is already spending billions of dollars a year complying with a patchwork of national and international regulations. Specific numbers are not tracked, but hundreds of thousands of children are believed to work on US farms growing all kinds of crops, from tomatoes and berries to cotton and tobacco. HRW interviewed 141 children between the ages of seven and 17 working on tobacco farms in four US states. Young agricultural workers face higher rates of death and injury than their peers, and tobacco carries added risk from nicotine. But there is little consensus on industry-wide child labour policies. India, Brazil and Russia have banned anyone under 18 from working with tobacco, but in the US, children as young as 12, and sometimes younger, can work on farms.