Double slap from Ryanair and EasyJet to the government on the high cost of flights. The Irish company moves from threats to facts, cutting the winter routes on Sardinia after the executive decree, which sets a cap on tariffs for connections to the islands. And EasyJet, after meeting the Minister of Business and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, invites the government to withdraw it, as Ryanair had already requested in recent weeks, because the decree “will make flights more expensive” and “contrasts” also with “the principle of free tariffs” established by EU legislation, says the British company. Yesterday also the president of Wizz Air, Robert Careyhad defined the decree as “illegal” and “above all wrong”. In total, 10 routes on Sardinia were hit by Ryanair’s attack, 3 cancelled, 8% of the entire winter programme.
“I am here to unfortunately announce something that we certainly would not have wanted: a reduction of almost 10% compared to the planned, this is totally linked to the Italian government decree which we consider totally illegal and which will only have the effect of reducing connectivity,” said the commercial director of the Irish low cost company, Jason McGuinness, meeting journalists in Cagliari. For the moment, Minister Urso does not comment. But last month he said: “If they cut routes, someone else will fill them.” In detail, Ryanair cancels three domestic routes to Trieste (from Cagliari), Bari and Treviso (both from Alghero) and reduces frequencies on another 7 routes, including 6 essential domestic connections to Rome, Milan (Bergamo and Malpensa), Catania, Naples and Venice, as well as Brussels Charleroi. “Let’s stop this decree law to avoid further irreparable damage and, instead, make Italy more competitive by removing the tax called municipal surcharge on all airports on the peninsula”, added McGuinness, launching an appeal to the Meloni government.
For its part, EasyJet underlined during the meeting with Urso that if the content of the decree “were confirmed”, this “would certainly lead to a reduction in the attractiveness of the Italian market” for the airlines, therefore to a “reduction of the offer and of connectivity to and from Italian airports” and to an “inevitable increase” in prices. “The Government will unfortunately be disappointed when they discover that the effect of this decree will be to have dragged the market and consumers back decades, when flying was a privilege for a few”, warned the British company. Ryanair’s announcement triggered a reaction from unions and consumers. The CGIL speaks of an “unacceptable” choice, for the trade union Filt CGIL it “undermines a sector already in serious difficulty”, for Uiltrasporti it is an “unacceptable blackmail”.
The National Consumer Union invites the government and Parliament “not to give in”, underlining that the decree “limits itself to prohibiting them only if they lead to a sale price of the ticket or ancillary services 200% higher than the average flight fare” . In the meantime, a small mishap for Ryanair’s number one, Michael O’Leary: he got two pies in the face in Brussels from two climate activists while he was in front of the European Commission building to protest against the repeated strikes by air traffic controllers in the EU. “Delicious cream,” commented O’Leary, taking it sportingly.