Ryanair wants more of €6m spent on flying civil servants

Ryanair has called on the Government to review its policy on travel arrangements for civil servants after it emerged only a fraction of more than €6m spent on air travel last year was with budget airlines.

Ryanair said the figures demonstrated the need for an official inquiry into the travel costs of “fat-cat” civil servants.

Figures provided by the National Procurement Service (NPS) show that €6,044,443 was spent on air tickets for civil servants last year, a 10.6% rise on expenditure for air travel in 2010.

The information released as part of a new tender process shows that almost 16,000 tickets were booked for Government staff in 2011. More than half were for medium-haul flights.

However, over 97% of all 15,590 flights were booked on the cheapest fare. Just 77 flights were booked at premium rates, with a further 361 trips in business class.

The NPS figures shows that 9,364 flights were booked with Aer Lingus compared with just 1,268 with Ryanair. The next most popular carriers were Air France, Lufthansa and Malev. The most common destination was Brussels as the headquarters of the EU followed by London, Paris, Amsterdam and Luxembourg.

Ryanair has complained that of 4,197 trips to Brussels, just 69 were booked to Charleroi, the airport 60km from the Belgian capital served by Ryanair.

A Ryanair spokesperson said the average fare paid last year for travel by Government staff was over €380.

Also, last month, Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary showed copies of emails from the European Commission’s travel agency Amex confirming it was not allowed to book tickets on low-cost airlines or reimburse expenses from Charleroi. Ryanair lodged a complaint with the European Court of Auditors.

The Department of Finance did not respond to a request for comment.


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