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  • Ryanair: The New Taxman
    Posted by Robert Wall 5:58 AM on Mar 31, 2011

    The Irish government is suffering massive financial problems, but is trying to hold off on raising taxes. The U.K. government is wrestling with how to bring back its budget deficit, but has decided to hold off on raising its air passenger duty.

    That is good news for airlines, who frequently complain about such taxes. One of the loudest when it comes to complaining tends to be Ryanair, Europe's largest low-fare airline.

    So what does Ryanair do to help passengers during this time of austerity? It creates a new charge. A charge that if levied by any government would be loudly decried by the airline as a tax.

    In this case, Ryanair, the master of finding ways to charge passengers and make up for its otherwise generally low ticket prices, is imposing a 2 euro levy for bookings from April 4. The reason, the airline says, is to make up for money it had to pay out under European Union passenger rights laws when flights were disrupted last year owing to volcanic ash and bad weather.

    Ryanair says the cost of complying with the laws on the books were over 100 million euros.

    In a statement announcing the policy, Ryanair says it "believes that the unfair and discriminatory elements of the airline EU261 regulations should be amended to relieve airlines of the burden of providing care in cases where the cancellations and/or delays are clearly not the responsibility or fault of the airlines." And it complains other stakeholders in the air transport system are not being charged.

    The move is unlikely to stop complaining about taxes imposed by outsiders on the airline, but when it starts creating its own taxes, the constant complaining may start to ring even more hollow.

    Tags: tw99, Ryanair

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