Does Ryanair receive preferential treatment from the European Air Traffic Control Organization?

Does Ryanair receive preferential treatment from the European Air Traffic Control Organization?

Ryanair has been accused of receiving preferential treatment over other airlines by Eurocontrol, the European air traffic control organisation. It would seem to be a case of favoritism reserved by the Irish Eamonn Brennan, director of Eurocontrol, to his compatriot Michael O'Leary , managing director of the low cost company.

The complaint came from the Union syndicale fédérale ( Usf) of Brussels, the acronym that brings together the workers' unions of the European public administration and the staff of international organizations, such as Eurocontrol. According to Euractiv reports, Brennan is allegedly granting O'Leary's staff direct and exclusive access to the organisation's operations room in Brussels.

Eurocontrol is the main air traffic control agency in the European Union, in which all member states participate. Its task is to facilitate traffic management in Europe, through coordination between local authorities, air navigation service providers, airports and companies. Having privileged access to the agency therefore also means having it in all the airports of the block and of other European countries.

Both Eurocontrol and Ryanair have denied the Usf's accusations, justifying the access as part of an exercise of " familiarization " to the operations room, open to all airlines. However, according to union leaders, priority and unsupervised access would have been offered only to the Irish company, not respecting the neutrality and impartiality of the international service.

According to what was told by Henk Korteweg, executive delegate of Usf, Ryanair staff would "freely" approach that of Eurocontrol, in the operations room, asking for "preferential treatment for individual flights". For this reason, Korteweg has asked for the suspension of access privileges to the control room for Ryanair employees and for the restoration of common access methods for all airline operators.

The airline has defended itself against the allegations by arguing how its staff are always under the supervision of Eurocontrol managers and cannot exert any kind of pressure. The agency, consulted by Euractiv, provided the same justifications as Ryanair, arguing that the presence of company personnel in the control room is only temporary. However, according to an anonymous statement from a Eurocontrol staff member, this would be just the latest in a "long line of conflicts of interest" involving Ryanair and its boss, who allegedly "approached" Brennan many more times. .