THE GOVERNMENT HAS struck a deal with Ryanair that will allow politicians, diplomats and other officials to travel from Belgium to Dublin with the low-fare airline during the Irish presidency of the European Union next year.
The deal, which could save as much as €1.5 million for the State, was arranged through the government’s travel management services contract with Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
The Irish airline has said it has guaranteed a low-fare deal on its daily return flights between Dublin Airport and Charleroi Airport, 60 kilometres from Brussels where many EU officials are based.
According to Ryanair the deal includes a fixed one-way fare of €49.99, a ’Presidency’ helpline which will be manned 15 hours a day, up to 30 days ‘credit’ terms, free flight changes, and dedicated assistance desks at both Dublin and Brussels South Charleroi airport.
The airline said that if 5,000 trips are taken by Irish and EU officials over the six month’s of the country’s EU presidency, which begins next week, then the government will save over €1.5 million.
This figure is based on estimates from the Office of Public Works from April of this year which show that the Irish government spent an average fee of €350 per flight.
In a statement, the government said it was “determined to run a cost-effective EU presidency across all areas”.
“As part of ongoing efforts to minimise costs of official travel, Government Departments have ensured that all staff have been advised of the arrangement,” the statement added.