Regular readers of this blog in the south of France have just had some less than welcome news, as has anyone else that flies in and out with a certain low cost carrier. This is because a potential dispute with the French authorities has been used as an excuse for corporate mardy strop throwing – with a little implicit bullying on the side.
The airline throwing the strop will be familiar to Zelo Street readers: it is of course our old friend Ryanair, the Millwall of air carriers (everyone hates us and we don’t care). Marseille, their last base in France, is to close next January, with the aircraft and crew moved out of the country, and around half the route network will be lost.
Why is this? Well, Ryanair base their crews, for purposes of payment and taxation, in Ireland, which is not unreasonable, given they are an Irish airline. The dastardly French, however, have been trying to insist that those crews be considered as based in France, which would mean paying taxes locally.
It is more than likely that this would impose an extra cost on Ryanair, so for them to contest the matter is understandable. The way in which they have behaved, however, is the usual mix of brinkmanship and bullying, and will be familiar to those who witnessed them pull most of their services from Manchester after failing to secure a reduction in handling fees.
So, instead of staying put and letting the EU authorities find adversely on the French – which is more than likely, even if decisions do not tend to happen overnight in such matters – Ryanair demonstrate their contempt for the long suffering passengers, especially those who use the flights regularly and depend on them.
And, just to rub salt in the wounds, Michael O’Leary said yesterday that “Ryanair remains committed to Marseille Airport”. With 13 out of 23 routes about to go, that’s a strange kind of commitment.
[The 13 routes to go includes that to Eindhoven, folks]