Sasko Lazarov/

Ryanair accused daa of 'incompetence' and 'poor management' over summer travel chaos

The budget airline said DAA’s request for extra money was ‘alarming and inconsistent’ with trying to support recovery after the pandemic.

RYANAIR LAUNCHED A blistering attack on daa, accusing them of “incompetence” and having caused Ireland international embarrassment, during the summer.

In correspondence with the aviation regulator, the low-fare airlines said proposed hikes in airport charges were “unjustified” and that they weren’t confident daa could spend any increased budget effectively.

Ryanair also called for the airport authority to be hit with penalties over lengthy queues and said the increased charges they were seeking were “wildly excessive”.

In a letter to the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR), Ryanair said daa were now looking for what in real terms would be a 91% increase in the price cap.

It said: “DAA wants airport users to pay additional sums in airport charges for its own lack of foresight and resource planning.”

Ryanair accused the airport authority of being unprepared for the bounce-back in air travel this summer, which had resulted in chaotic queues.

The letter, which was sent in early July, said:

DAA’s ongoing security queue issues are exclusively down to poor management and must not be conflated with an incorrect perception that the price cap needs to increase in order to solve the security queue issues.

It said DAA’s request for extra money was “alarming and inconsistent” with trying to support recovery after the pandemic.

Ryanair said changing financial information from the airport was “chaotic and unpredictable” for how they communicated with the regulator and passengers.

In another letter in late June, Ryanair hit out at what they said were alarming plans for what they said was an effective 88% rise in passenger charges.

The low-fare airlines said this would harm traffic recovery, result in significant capacity restrictions and lost connectivity at Dublin Airport.

The letter added: “More frankly, following the chaos at Dublin Airport these past weeks which resulted in thousands of passengers missing their flights, as well as the associated reputational damage to brand Ireland, we are not confident in DAA managements’ ability to manage such significant capital expenditure projects efficiently.”

They said the price hike being sought was “without precedent” and that if Dublin Airport did not have such market power within Ireland, it would have led to a “cessation of all operations at the airport by Ryanair”.

The letter said: “Ryanair will be forced to cancel new and low margin routes (especially in the weaker Winter and shoulder periods), instead focusing on proven big city pairings and peak sun and leisure, all of which will lead to an inefficient use of existing infrastructure and staffing.”

Asked about the correspondence, Ryanair said they had nothing further to add while the Commission for Aviation Regulation said they had no comment to make.

A spokesman for daa said: “Ensuring aeronautical charges are set at an appropriate level is key to ensuring that [we] are able to deliver the quality of service that both passengers and airlines expect and deserve at Dublin Airport. Airport charges at Dublin Airport are already ultra-low versus our peer airports.”

While acknowledging the summer had been challenging at Dublin Airport, he said virtually all passengers were getting through security screening in less than thirty minutes by the start of August.

He added: “While any change in aeronautical charges has virtually no discernible impact on the price of an airline ticket, it has a material effect on the standard of service in the short term and the level of capacity that the airport is able to cater for in the medium term.”

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