An Irish government minister is to talk to Ryanair after accusations that it hiked fares on flights from Poland to Ireland as demand soared from Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war.
Ryanair has rejected outright the claims made by the Ukrainian ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko, at a parliamentary committee meeting last week.
Its chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said the claims were “completely false” but Ireland’s transport minister is under pressure to take up the matter. Interviewed on RTÉ radio on Monday, Eamon Ryan was repeatedly asked whether Ryanair should lay on humanitarian flights.
He declined to answer the question, telling the show Morning Ireland: “We’re in constant touch with Ryanair. Through the previous Covid crisis, on a number of occasions, they helped us in terms of getting people out of difficult places in different ways.
“Let me first of all talk to the ambassador and then I’ll talk to Ryanair without a doubt.”
Demand for flights to Dublin from Warsaw has escalated since Russia invaded Ukraine and Ireland lifted visa restrictions for Ukrainians.
Flights in the coming days are all sold out with one-way fares on Sunday being advertised at £144, the first day the route is showing availability. Flights the following day drop to about £60, then £44 and £23 the following days.
Ryan told RTE that Ireland had welcomed 10,000 refugees into the country since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
Asked about the price fare claims last week, O’Leary said: “We already carry thousands of refugees around Europe with fixed fares of €20 [£16.70] and €30 and €50. This story that we are hiking the fares out of Poland is completely false.”
He said the business model it operated allowed cheap fares but “if a flight fills, the last few fares will be sold at the highest fares”.