Ryanair: «Abolish the municipal surcharge on boarding fees»

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The elimination of the municipal surcharge on boarding fees could lead to an increase of three million passengers, 1,200 new jobs in Sicily alone, as well as a benefit for the entire system in terms of new routes and simultaneous new investments. This is the summary of the letter that Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson sent to the President of the Sicilian Region Renato Schifani, starting a dialogue based on the idea that such a provision could bring benefits to the entire system and also to airfares.

Contacts initiated with the government

The same thing has been done with the national government: Ryanair has already written to the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Matteo Salvini and to the Minister of Business and Made in Italy Adolfo Urso. The model to follow is that of Friuli Venezia Giulia which abolished the municipal surcharge/tourism tax from 1 January 2024: here Ryanair has launched a new base in Trieste and added a 50% growth for summer ’24 as part of an overall shared vision to reduce access costs and double inbound passengers and tourism over the next 5 years.

Wilson: «A tax that harms the system»

A concept reiterated during a meeting that took place in Palermo attended by the top management of Gesap, the management company of Punta Raisi airport (the CEO Vito Riggio and the president Totò Burrafato were present) to present the Summer 24. The central point in the meeting with journalists was what Wilson defines as «the variable cost that is taxes: each flight, even before leaving, costs 1,200 euros, for the 6.50 that each passenger pays in tax terms. And this only happens in Italy.” And this has greater weight for territories such as Sicily which «suffers from a lack in terms of air connectivity and capacity, and the key to increasing capacity is to reduce access costs – says Wilson -. Lower access costs will ensure greater capacity, more choice and – most importantly – significantly lower tariffs. There is an opportunity for Sicily to ensure increased tourism capacity and growth over the next 5 years, provided the Sicilian Government abolishes the excessive municipal surcharge/tourism tax which is hindering the growth of connectivity and the tourism sector of the island”.

Riggio: «It has become an ATM on the plane ticket»

Certainly a hot topic. Vito Riggio talks about it in his capacity as former president of ENAC. «This is a tax that has been added over time. We continue to say municipal tax but in reality, this tax weighs on many contributions, including that on the fire brigade. I believe that a serious state should reorganize this tax in the sense of at least reducing it. Because it has become a sort of ATM on the airline ticket. If the tax decreased I would also expect a reduction, obviously, in the cost of the ticket. What is unacceptable is this idea of ​​Friuli Venezia Giulia that everyone does on their own. It can not be. Also because Friuli Venezia Giulia has a very modest weight and Sicily with its almost 20 million passengers evidently costs much more. The State should already review, for example, the 1.5 euro contribution for firefighters which makes no sense. It should be the Ministry of the Interior that finances.” The discussion is therefore open and, apparently, also the dialogue between Ryanair and the public administration: «We have not met Schifani because he is in Rome for other commitments but we promise to do so» says Wilson.

The new summer flights from Palermo

Meanwhile, Ryanair has announced what has been defined as “its new operating record” on Palermo for the summer of ’24, with over 600 weekly flights on 41 routes, including a new one for Poznan and increased frequencies on over 15 existing routes such as Barcelona , London, Paris and Vienna. Ryanair is present in Palermo, with 5 aircraft (500 million dollars investment) and support for over 2,600 jobs in the region (including well-paid positions for pilots, flight attendants and engineers). «A large city like Palermo, a large territory like its metropolitan area need a large air carrier to support economic and social growth and continue to increase those tourist flows which represent a fundamental key to development – ​​says the president of Gesap Burrafato –. For this reason, Gesap has decided to renew its trust in Ryanair, the main global operator in the low cost segment”.



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