Ryanair clashes with authorities over maintenance hangar deal

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Ryanair's protests about the decision to refuse it permission to buy or lease Hangar 6 at Dublin airport have been rejected by both the airport operator and the Irish government.

The heavy maintenance hangar was leased to Aer Lingus by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) last year, but Ryanair claims that the terms of that agreement would allow the DAA to move Aer Lingus from Hangar 6 "for the purpose of... airport development" and that the hangar is underused by its occupant. If Ryanair had control of the hangar, it would employ 300 engineers to work there, it says.

"Why does the Taoiseach [prime minister], Tánaiste [deputy prime minister] and this government willingly allow 300 aircraft engineers to draw the dole, while they preside over and defend Aer Lingus blocking the large heavy maintenance Hangar 6 facility?" asks Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary.

A government spokesman dismisses Ryanair's assertions in respect of Aer Lingus' lease of Hangar 6. "The lease is a binding contract and the Taoiseach has obtained strong legal advice to confirm this," he says.

A DAA spokesman adds that the airport authority has indicated to Ryanair "both directly and indirectly" that the facilities available in Hangar 6 could be "replicated in a new build elsewhere on the Dublin Airport campus". Alternatively, Ryanair could use "other hangars that were previously occupied by SRT [SR Technics]".

Maintenance provider SR Technics closed its Dublin operation early in 2009.