Aer Lingus refuses to hand over Hangar Six

AER LINGUS last night effectively ended rival carrier Ryanair’s plans to take over the in-demand hangar six at Dublin Airport.

Michael O’Leary’s budget airline has heaped pressure on the Government this week, claiming his airline would create 300 high-value jobs if the building was handed over.

And he also published a letter stating he offered the Government guarantees last year restricting the use of a hangar to maintenance.

But an Aer Lingus spokeswoman flatly dismissed a move out for the former state airline.

“We have a 20-year agreement on the hangar six. The requirement for that hangar is for essential line maintenance. We will remain in the hangar,” she said.

“We are not in a position to give up the hangar.”

Mr O’Leary issued details of a letter sent to enterprise chiefs at IDA Ireland committing the carrier to only heavy aircraft maintenance at the sought-after building.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said there was an open competition for the hangar last summer which Ryanair did not enter, and it was subsequently leased to rival carrier Aer Lingus.

But Mr O’Leary said the letter, dated July 2009 to IDA’s Barry O’Leary, states the airline wanted the lease and offered to agree to any restrictions on what the site could be used for.

The Taoiseach said current tenants Aer Lingus cannot be asked to leave without giving 24 months’ notice.

Meanwhile Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan !was yesterday told she should resign from her position because of her handling of the issue and failure to secure the 300 jobs.

During angry Dáil exchanges, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said: “The Tánaiste should voluntarily submit to the Taoiseach that she would like a change of ministry in view of her incompetence in her current role.”

Ms Coughlan said she had met with Shannon Development on Wednesday and they offered to provide the facilities required by Ryanair. “They have put forward a project which would include a new building, a hangar, with access for staff, car parking etc.

“They would also provide a site through Shannon Development and another private investor to support the company and if discussions were to take place, further support mechanisms could be made available,” she said.

Mr O’Leary has warned that talks with two other European cities are at an advanced stage.


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