Air France read the press release published by Ryanair on 21 November 2003. This is a propaganda document which has no bearing on reality, and calls for a number of factual clarifications from Air France.

Ryanair claims it has proof that Air France's lowest fare between Strasbourg and London is €780 ($970). However, taking into account the conditions which Ryanair itself gives - a round trip during the week staying over Saturday night - Air France confirms that its lowest fare accessible to all is €56 round trip (€99.67 including tax).

Ryanair also claims that Air France is the most subsidised airline in Europe and that 15 of its routes are only possible thanks to "considerable" subsidies.

The truth is Air France has received no subsidies at all from the state since its recapitalisation in 1994.

As for Ryanair's remark on the subsidies which Air France receives to be able to fly to five (not 15 as it claims in its statement) destinations, it shows a complete lack of knowledge of the measures implemented by the European member states and European institutions in terms of regional planning and service continuity, showing how little Ryanair knows about French and European legislation.

The regional planning status can only be given to routes with less than 150,000 passengers a year and for which there is no alternative means of transport. The operation of such routes is subject to tenders which can be submitted by any European airline.

This is a far cry from the system of subsidies which Ryanair extracted from airport authorities to fly to economically viable destinations. Faced with this distortion of the competition rules, Brit Air filed a lawsuit which, up to now, it has won, although Ryanair is appealing.

Ryanair accuses Air France of being responsible for the downfall of Air Lib and Aéris, which is, of course, completely untrue. Ryanair forgets to mention the real state of the French domestic market, dominated by the most powerful low-cost carrier, the TGV high-speed train, which represents a major difficulty for all airlines - including Air France - in an already difficult economic environment.

Air France Roissy,

Source: Airline Business