Airlines unite to accuse EU of forcing up travel costs

In an unprecedented move, airline bosses from Britain and Ireland have united to launch a blistering attack on the European Union’s policies and taxes which, they claim, are forcing up the cost of flying for travellers.

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has sought an end to airstrikes across Europe which he claims has seen 3,000 flights cancelled already this year

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has sought an end to airstrikes across Europe which he claims has seen 3,000 flights cancelled already this year Image by Niall Carson/PA Wire

Leaving aside their usually competitive instincts, the chief executives of Ryanair, British Airways and easyJet came together to demand change to help their industry to expand.

The Daily Express reports that the bosses said it was high time Europe came up with a more efficient and competitive market to allow growth in the sector as well as ensuring job levels and protecting passenger interests.

British Airways through its CEO Willie Walsh accused the EU of taxing an enabler of economic activity

British Airways through its CEO Willie Walsh accused the EU of taxing an enabler of economic activity

BA’s chief Willie Walsh accused the EU of taxing an enabler of economic activity and said “unreasonable” charges should be scrapped.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary highlighted the problems over strikes, claiming 3,000 flights had been cancelled so far this year.

EasyJet increases connections to Iceland. Image by RHL Images / CC BY-SA 2.0.

EasyJet boss Carolyn McCall said a change of strategy from the new EU transport commissioner could lead to more flights and lower prices. Image by RHL Images / CC BY-SA 2.0. Image by RHL Images / CC BY-SA 2.0

The leaders are also seeking reforms to reduce the cost of European airport charges. If this was done, they said, it would allow for cheaper fares to customers.

The boss of easyJet, Carolyn McCall, said that if there was a change of strategy by the transport commissioner, Violeta Bulc, it would lead to extra flights while delivering lower prices at the same time.

The CEOs contended that European airports charges were currently among the highest in the world and the new European Aviation Strategy should seek to address this problem.

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