The Italian Job: Ryanair Challenges ENAC President’s Claims

A Ryanair jet lands in Italy.
Photo Credit: Fabrizio Berni (GFDL or GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons

Low-cost carrier Ryanair is urging ENAC President Pierluigi Di Palma to step down following a series of disputed statements.

The airline takes issue with Mr. Di Palma’s claims of an “oligopoly” in the Italian market, the disappearance of low-cost carriers, and the end of affordable airfares.

Ryanair has now vehemently contested these claims.

Ryanair: ‘Economics for Dummies’

This isn’t the first time Mr. Di Palma’s pronouncements have raised eyebrows. Less than a year ago, he sparked controversy with a number of allegations, says Ryanair.

These included alleged airline collusion to inflate prices, non-existent €1,000 tickets, and algorithms targeting passenger mobile phones – all claims which Ryanair fiercely disputes.

Ryanair maintains that Mr. Di Palma fundamentally misunderstands the concept of an oligopoly. They’ve even sent him a copy of “Economics for Dummies” to clarify.

In an oligopoly, a small number of suppliers control the market, restricting supply and driving up prices. In contrast, the Italian market boasts strong competition.

Ryanair, with a market share below 40% (contrary to Mr. Di Palma’s inflated claim of 51%), is actively expanding its Italian presence by 10% in 2024, all while lowering fares for Italian consumers.

CEO O’Leary Challenges Assertions

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary directly challenged Mr. Di Palma’s assertions in his latest statement.

“Ryanair’s Summer 2024 schedule offers over 29 million seats to, from, and within Italy. Remarkably, over 40% (more than 12 million seats) are available for €29.99 or less one-way.”

“Additionally, over 50% (more than 15 million seats) are priced at €39.99 or less. Mr. Di Palma’s repeated false claims mislead the Italian government and public regarding the air travel landscape.”

“His lack of understanding of the airline industry is evident in his persistent, embarrassing pronouncements. Perhaps familiarizing himself with basic economic principles would be a good starting point.”

“He should cease perpetuating the myth of an ‘oligopoly’ when Ryanair demonstrably increases capacity and reduces fares.”

Ryanair has formally requested Mr. Di Palma’s resignation and a correction of his latest inaccuracies. They advocate for his replacement with a leader possessing a clear grasp of economics.

In a final jab, Ryanair highlights the availability of millions of low-cost fares while Mr. Di Palma “continues to embarrass himself and ENAC with his baseless pronouncements.”

About ENAC

ENAC is the Italian Civil Aviation Authority, a government agency responsible for regulating civil aviation in Italy. Established in 1997, ENAC’s main responsibilities include:

  • Regulating the safety of air operations
  • Issuing and renewing airworthiness certificates for aircraft
  • Licensing air operators
  • Overseeing the training of flight crew
  • Investigating accidents and incidents
  • Protecting the environment from the effects of aviation
  • Promoting the development of civil aviation in Italy

ENAC is headquartered in Rome and has regional offices throughout Italy. It is a member of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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