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RYANAIR to cut earlier summer flights to Greece, calls Tourism Minister “Marie Antoinette”

Low cost airline Ryanair will cut two months earlier the summer flights to Greece. In an interview to Sunday newspaper To Vima, Chief Commercial Manager of Ryanair David O’ Brien said that the Ryanair was «forced to move” to end two months before the summer flight schedule in Greece.

The reason for doing so? The traditional Ryanair reason: taxes.

O Brien said the decision was taken after the Greek government’s exemplary ignoring the company’s proposals for increasing passenger traffic. He stressed “we have sent 25 letters over the last two years, but we have received only three replies and none of them is a response, positive or negative, to our proposals.

O’ Brien described Deputy Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura as Marie Antoinette of Greece” because to Ryanair’s proposal to increase Greece’s visitors by 5 million she replied that it was “not within her competence” to decide on this. He also claimed that there has been no government proposal to   “extend the tourist season in Greece.”

“Speaking on public television, she just said it was a social tourism program, which is excellent for beneficiaries, but the tourism strategy can not be limited to the recycling of money of Greek taxpayers, “ O’ Brien said.

He also attacked Germany and FRAPORT that has won the privatization of 14 regional airports.

“What the Germans will do will be to increase the infrastructure that outside the high season will be empty. Then, as a monopoly, will raise fees for airports. They will destroy tourism island attracting more tour operators only for two months, whereas what they really need the islands are more passengers for more months.”

He also expresses his concern about the creation of cartels in airport charges,  since “the company that is in charge of the airports [meaning the Fraport] has already stated that charges will be at the levels of all the Mediterranean countries. In short, he says that it should be higher. ”

David O’ Brien said he cannot understand why the Greeks do not want to have “10 million visitors in 3 years,” and implied that the Greek government is rather afraid to insult its partners-friends. (source To Vima)

Ryanair is notorious for avoiding any tax hikes and in February the company announced to cut routes and jobs in Italy as a “result of a 40 percent increase in passenger departure taxes.” Ryanair said that from October it would drop 16 routes and 600 jobs after the Italian government this year raised departure taxes to 9 euros ($9.81) from 6.50 euros to help subsidise layoffs at former flagship carrier Alitalia.

Is Ryanair afraid of the new taxes to be imposed in Greece? Certainly. Last year, RYANAIR Chief calls Greek Gov’t “lunatics” & “nutters” and wants exemption from Athens Airport Taxes & Fees.

PS Ryanair’s policy slogan is apparently: low cost at the high cost of others. I think, it’s hightime we start a petition “Tax-Free for Ryanair” :p

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  1. I take it that bookings for flights in Sept and October this year will not be affected. I learned today that Thomas Cook will now fly to Corfu from Luton from next year but they are a German company, flying into an airport which will then be controlled by the Germans.

  2. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    To stop ripping off clients with their usury for bike-boxes will extend the season perfectly – may be the government should implement a law that will forbid to cash in more than 10 Euros to transport a bike and meanwhile Ryan can throw a Tour de Greece bike-race.

  3. Why that nasty low life airline still exist is beyond comprehension. Their crews are worked to the bone and some pilots anonymously accused the airline of risking the lives of passengers and crews by taking on only the bear minimum of kerosene. I’ll never fly with them again. They ripped my wive off when they failed to carry her luggage and we had to get it by courier. I caught them once in Girona fixing the luggage scale. I had packed my suitcase perfectly to the 15 kg I was allowed to carry. Their scales showed 17. I measured it at other companies’ scales and it was a perfect 15 kg.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      oh lol. they really do such things?

      • In Italy they argued with my wife that she needed a visa which she doesn’t. After they had to accept defeat they continued the check-in. They failed to give luggage sticker they normally put on your boarding card and then somebody took off the luggage label from her suitcase and put the suitcase somewhere in the lobby. We had to retrieve the suitcase by courier. Wanted to complain at Ryan Air but you can’t. You can’t get hold of somebody. Then I called Airport Security cause somebody put the luggage somewhere in the lobby unattended. All I got was a machine on the other side of the line. Was contemplating to do a bomb threat but then of course I would be in trouble.
        In Girona I checked with the scales of 4 other different airlines. All showed 15 kg. Theirs showed 17. “Well, the others must have been wrongly calibrated”, they told me. Yeah sure, all of them except yours right? At 04.30 no customs officer in sight to complain to. That is what you get when you fly cheap. They even had plans to charge for a visit to the on board toilet…but I guess they understood if they would do that then soon they would have extra cleaning costs for the plane’s cabin.

        • keeptalkinggreece

          unbelievable story, thanks for sharing. + as you say: that’s the price for flying cheap.although no guarantee for no troubles if you fly expensive.

          • Well, it is a trade off really. Some other ‘not cheap airlines’ are not so much better. But other cheap airlines I have no problems with. Wizzair I only have good experiences with as long as you stick to their luggage rules. But Ryanair? I avoid them like the plague.
            The problem with traveling is that it has become a drag everywhere with the security measures and the long waiting.

  4. One of my relatives was asked by the Greek law courts to be a witness at court. Tickets were booked then the courts were planning to go on strike. So it was cancelled, no grounds for refund from insurance, but as it wasn’t just a case of change of mind, Ryanair were approached….what do you think the response was???? No! Even though the flights had been booked for a court case.

  5. PS. They wouldn’t even consider a voucher to be used at a later date… And the tickets were nearly 300€

  6. can anyone clarify exactly what two months earlier actually means – we have booked tickets for us to get kids back in time for school flying back on 4 Sept does this mean these will be cancelled? it’s time for Ryanair to come clean so we can all re arrange our holidays

  7. We have received an e-mail today from Ryanair saying our Oct 4 flight from Kos to Liverpool has been cancelled. No news about our outbound flight on the 11th Sept.

  8. RyanAir proposes to “increase Greek tourism by 5 million people”.

    First of all, that would be a 20% increase in annual foreign arrivals. By just one airline? But take it one step further:

    Let’s do the math that a 10 year old can do. A RyanAir jet seats 189 people. To see how many flights it would take to transport 5 million people to Greece we would divide 5 million by 189. That would be 26,455 flights. If those 5 million people were spread out equally over the whole year, that would require 72 flights per day (26,455 divided by 365 days), not that I can imagine people flocking to Greece in November, January or February. If we “extended the tourist season to 8 months”, that would require 110 flights per day (26,455 divided by 240 days).

    Now, considering that a 10 year old could see how ridiculous RyanAir’s claim of 5 million additional tourists is, why would it be surprising that the Tourism Ministry does not take them seriously? Their math is even wildly more inaccurate as JoeA shows their scales to be.