Ryanair in airport fee delay row
THREE airport authorities have alleged Ryanair is engaging in a "cat and mouse" exercise in a deliberate attempt to delay paying charges for as long as possible.
Since proceedings were issued against the airline last month by Dublin, Cork and Shannon Aviation Authorities over outstanding charges, Ryanair has paid some €1.4m due but is disputing whether a further €1.5m is owed, the Commercial Court heard.
Paul Sreenan, for the three authorities, said airport charges are required to be paid within 30 days but Ryanair had claimed it was entitled to a 60-day period.
Ryanair claims there has been an historical acceptance of its paying charges outside the 30-day limit and also alleges that its failure to meet passenger targets of some two million at Shannon does not expose it to a penalty.
The airline alleges the €10 air travel tax introduced by the Government in April 2009 constituted an exceptional force majeure event (strikes, weather, air traffic control failure) adversely affecting its ability to meet the two million passenger target and therefore justified it in not paying sums sought.
The three authorities deny those claims and have accused Ryanair of engaging in a "cat and mouse" exercise in a deliberate attempt to delay paying the overdue charges for as long as possible.
Mr Justice Kelly rejected claims by Ryanair of delay by the authorities in bringing their proceedings and transferred the action to the fast-track Commercial Court.