Ryanair boss hits out at UK Government’s ‘lamentable’ support for airlines

Michael O’Leary claimed there is ‘much more to be done’ to help the industry during the virus crisis.
Ryanair boss hits out at UK Government’s ‘lamentable’ support for airlines

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said UK Government support for airlines during the coronavirus pandemic has been “lamentable”.

He claimed there is “much more to be done” to help the industry during the Covid-19 crisis.

Giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee, Mr O’Leary said the furlough scheme is “welcome”, but “the Government has been lamentable in providing other support”.

He went on: “We had to refund over €1.5 billion (£1.3 billion) to customers in the last 12 months because our flights were cancelled by government order.

“There has been no support for that. We have received no support.”

He criticised UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak for failing to reduce Air Passenger Duty (APD), which he described as a “ridiculous” tax that “hits the poorest people hardest”.

He said: “No effort has been made by the Government to roll that back, reduce it temporarily, or in fact — what we would call for — abandon it altogether, at least until traffic at UK airports recovers to pre-pandemic levels.”

He added: “There’s much more to be done on Government support.

“The furlough scheme falls short of what needs to be done and it will be a very challenging and difficult return to normal operation or pre-Covid operation levels and profitability.”

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