Ryanair urges Holyrood to help fund jobs boost for Scotland

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By Cara Sulieman

BUDGET airline Ryanair today (tues) promised to deliver a jobs bonanza to Scotland and boost tourism – but only if Holyrood stumps up the cash to get their plans off the ground.

Deputy Chief Executive Michael Cawley claims the no frills giants could create some 1500 new jobs and deliver an extra 1.5 million tourists for the struggling Scots economy.Deadline Photo Sales - 0131 561 2233

But he warned they would only press ahead if the Scottish Government committed to helping financially.

Charity

He said: “We have close ties with Scotland and want to expand close to home but it’s not that we’re without alternatives. We’re not a charity and if it isn’t economically viable for us to expand then we won’t.”

Ahead of a meeting with the Scottish finance minister John Swinney, he said it was vital the Government cede to reintroducing the Route Development Fund before the company would commit itself.

The Fund gave money to airlines to introduce better air links between Scotland and other countries with the aim of boosting tourism.

But it was scrapped soon after the SNP gained power in 2007.

Mr Cawley said: “There is plenty of capacity and infrastructure in place – we just met with the management of Edinburgh Airport and they are increasing the capacity from nine million to 13 million.

“With the right economic framework Scotland can grow out of the recession.”

Comparing Scotland to the company’s home country, Ireland, Mr Cawley said that the secret to a booming tourist industry is cheap flights.

But he went on to say that as long as the Air Passenger Duty was in place Scotland would be “charging a premium” to visitors.

Irish

He said: “Essentially Scotland has been underserviced as far as tourism is concerned. In Ireland we have 1.7 tourists for every member of the population and in Scotland it’s only about 1.1.

“If you look fairly objectively at the product you have here it’s every bit as good at the Irish one. There is no reason that you can’t achieve the same penetration of foreign tourism as we have done in Ireland.

“We believe the key issue that can drive that tourism forward is cheap access that you don’t have at the moment from certain markets like continental Europe.

“You should introduce a payment to the airline for growth in Scotland which would compensate for the air passenger duty.”

And the company thinks that if the tax – which is increasing to £12 next year – is paid for by the Scottish Government then the budget airline will be able to bring millions more passengers into the country.

Mr Cawley said: “That’s the principle, how they do it is irrelevant but the Air Passenger Duty makes Scotland expensive. The product here Scotland is attractive to passengers but it costs more than other countries and we have to overcome that.

“We have close ties with Scotland and want to expand close to home but it’s not that we’re without alternatives. We’re not a charity and if it isn’t economically viable for us to expand then we won’t.”

He went on to say that Scotland has the infrastructure to increase the number of visitors, but needs the financial boost from the government.

Recession

He said: “There is plenty of capacity and infrastructure in place – we just met with the management of Edinburgh Airport and they are increasing the capacity from nine million to 13 million.

“With the right economic framework Scotland can grow out of the recession.”

The company are planning on introducing new routes from Edinburgh Airport from next spring and plan to expand their operations at Aberdeen once the runway has been extended next year.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Ryanair’s deals are always dangerous, look how they dealt with French local public authority. This is dangerous because airport and public authority becomes too dependent and Ryanair always want to get more and leave if they don’t get what they want.

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