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The eco brief. Ryanair takes advantage of the crisis to restructure in Europe


A Ryanair plane on the tarmac of an airport. Illustrative photo. (NATHALIE COL / RADIO FRANCE)

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary does not intend to be overtaken by events. He is taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the economic crisis linked to the pandemic to move forward. First strong announcement: the decision to no longer serve Northern Ireland by the end of October. Planes that serve this country, and depart for other destinations, will be relocated to cheaper airports in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, for the winter season which begins in November. Ryanair justifies its decision by the refusal of the British government to suspend or reduce the tax on airline tickets. The group also invokes the lack of incentives to take over from London airports.

Ryanair will open 26 new destinations this winter from several Portuguese airports such as Lisbon, Porto (north) and Faro (south). Investments of 256 million euros and the promised creation of 300 jobs, the low-cost Irish company seizes a local opportunity: with the Covid crisis, the Portuguese national company TAP is forced to lose weight in order to survive. It must reduce its operations as part of a restructuring plan negotiated with Brussels in return for public aid which has in fact led to its renationalization.

The company recorded last year the biggest loss since its creation in 1984. A hole of one billion euros with the key to the announced elimination of more than 3,000 jobs (15% of its workforce) or wage cuts to avoid layoffs. But the boss wants to continue to believe in it. Micheal O’Leary considers his company sufficiently solid to emerge from the crisis in a position of strength with this announced redeployment. He also intends to take advantage of the woes of other companies. Ryanair opened in December a new base at Beauvais airport, in the Oise, north of Paris.

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