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aviation showdown

Transport Minister to meet Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary for the first time ever this week

Eamon Ryan says he’s asked to meet the Ryanair CEO previously, but for a variety of reasons the meeting never took place.


TRANSPORT MINISTER EAMON Ryan will meet with Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary on Thursday. 

The meeting comes a week after O’Leary pulled faces and posed for photos beside cardboard cut-outs of the faces of Ryan and Media Minister Catherine Martin at a press conference.

O’Leary also held up a picture of Dublin Airport with a sign saying “Sorry, we’re closed”.  

During the press conference, the Ryanair boss heaped criticism on the transport who he said are failing to deliver growth in Ireland’s aviation industry.

The main point of the press conference was to call for the cap on passenger numbers at  Dublin Airport to be abolished.

He described the cap as “artificial” and said it was causing Dublin to “lose out” to other European airports. 

“Other airports in Europe are laughing at Dublin,” he said in reference to the traffic cap. 

This is the first meeting the transport minister has had with the airline CEO. The pair will meet at Ryanair HQ rather than the Department of Transport. 

Appearing on RTÉ’s Late Late Show on Friday, Ryan said he is looking forward to meeting O’Leary, stating that he has previously asked for a meeting to be set up, but it never came to fruition.

While the timing of the meeting could be seen as awkward, the minister said that seeing the cardboard cutouts held up by the businessman doesn’t bother him. 

Ryan said he wouldn’t let such a stunt get in the way of having discussions about important matters, stating that there are “serious things” that they both need to talk about such as how to make aviation sustainable. 

Screenshot - 2024-03-05T190049.469 Transport Minister Eamon Ryan is shown photo of Michael O'Leary holding up cardboard cutout of the minister.

O’Leary has called for emergency legislation that would abolish the cap on passengers.

He states Ryanair has been forced to abandon plans to base four planes at Dublin Airport and open 12 new routes because of the cap on traffic, which is set at 32 million passengers per year. He also pointed to the airport’s new runway, which he said was being underused due to the cap. 

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