By Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo
Ryanair Asks Italian Government for Cancellation of Boarding Charges
In 2004, a municipal surtax on passenger boarding fees was established by the Italian government. The purpose of this tax — one euro for each passenger boarded — is 20% for the benefit of the municipality in which the airport is located and 80% to find the necessary resources to strengthen security in airport facilities and main railway stations against international terrorism.
In truth, this tax only ends up in the pockets of airport operators and benefits passengers if the total amount of the tax exceeds 30 million euros annually. Any money below this threshold, it is ordinary tax revenue of the Italian State, able to be used for any purpose and for anyone’s benefit. The tax was suspended from August 2021 through December 2021 to assist airlines.
For these reasons, Ryanair has once again asked the Italian government to eliminate this tax for all Italian airports and all airlines until 2025. The removal of this tax “would be crucial in driving the recovery of Italian tourism and ensuring Italy remains competitive with other EU countries that are trying to attract airlines favoring the rapid recovery of the tourism sector,” the airline said in a statement. Boarding fees are due directly from the carrier to the airport management company, but it is the passenger who is the real recipient of the economic burden represented by boarding fees.
This aspect has been stressed several times by the Irish company, as it is convinced that the removal of this tax would give an important boost to regional connectivity to the benefit of millions of Italian passengers and local tourism. During the period when the tax was removed, Ryanair launched 13 new routes and over 20 additional frequencies on 17 existing routes, proving that it was a significant incentive.
The Irish low-cost company stated that if the Italian government eliminated the surcharge, it would invest at least $4 billion in the Italian network over the next four years, creating over 1,500 new jobs.
No Reimbursements to Covid-Positive Passengers
The Irish airline denies flight reimbursement to passengers who, having tested positive for Covid-19, cannot leave. Even when faced with the presentation of the positive molecular swab to prove the actual impossibility Ryanair considers Covid “not a serious illness”. This issue has been submitted to ENAC, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority, which may open proceedings against Ryanair, and which could lead to sanctions.
The problem is that Ryanair, due to a passenger’s problem, has limited itself to proposing to the customer the shifting (not free of charge) of the flight date. In Europe, unfortunately, there are no regulations that provide for this type of case and therefore the problem will have to be resolved by finding a bilateral agreement.