'untrue' Ryanair boss denies flight fares were hiked for refugees fleeing war in Ukraine
The Ukrainian ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko, said yesterday that the airline had raised prices from Poland
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary said it is "completely untrue" that his airline is hiking prices for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko, said yesterday that the airline had raised prices from Poland, and she was awaiting a meeting with Transport Minister Eamon Ryan about the issue.
She said that after writing a letter to Ryanair, she had not received a response.
Speaking about the allegations at Cheltenham yesterday, Mr O'Leary said: "It's completely untrue, we have very low-fare fights coming to and from Poland.
"All of the airports - we've checked into it - and all the flights are filling up and as they fill up they pay the highest fares. But we have on today, tomorrow and in the coming days fares of €20 one way, €50 one way. There's loads of cheap flights out there."
Asked whether people are paying these higher fares because the flights are in demand due to the war, Mr O'Leary said: "Every flight when it fills, the last few seats are the higher fares, that's how we get to sell so many seats at €20 and €30."
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "My view is that we should all, public sector or private sector, do everything we can to ease the situation for Ukrainians and facilitate the passage out of a warzone."
Ms Gerasko welcomed suggestions of charters being officially arranged from Poland, which stemmed from Sinn Féin TD John Brady at the European Union Affairs Committee at Leinster House on Tuesday.
"We would be very grateful for that, because it is very difficult to buy tickets from Warsaw or from Krakow to Dublin," she said.
"And moreover, may I address this issue to Ryanair because it raised the prices and it's unfortunate."
Independent senator Sharon Keogan, who organised a Dáil collection for Ukraine last week, interrupted, saying: "That's unforgivable. It's actually unforgivable."
Ms Gerasko said she would "raise this issue for sure" when she meets Transport Minister Eamon Ryan on his return from St Patrick's Day duties abroad.
She added: "Unfortunately our request, or our letter to Ryanair never received any response, I'd say, from Ryanair, because we sent this letter, it seems to me, one week ago."
Fianna Fáil senator Gerry Horkan said Ryanair should now make free flights avail- able.
However, when asked yesterday whether there is anything Ryanair would do to help, Mr O'Leary said: "We are already carrying thousands of refugees around Europe.
"This story that we are hiking up the fares in Poland are completely false.
"We have low fares available today, tomorrow and the next day."
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