Ryanair takes new Polish air traffic legislation to EC

Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

Irish budget airline Ryanair has complained to the European Commission about legislation which could cut back on flights to and from Warsaw from May 1, because it believes that the list of prioritised destinations unfairly favours Polish flag carrier LOT.

Ryanair wrote in a Tuesday statement regarding the April 25 legislation that the Polish prime minister had arbitrarily chosen 32 routes, operated from Warsaw, in order to ensure them priority status if the capacity of Warsaw airports deteriorated after May 1.

The Irish company stated that Ryanair was the largest airline in Poland, and that its key destinations such as Stockholm and Milan had not been included in the list of priority routes while non-essential LOT (Polish state-owned airline) destinations like Vilnius, Berlin and Szczecin had been.

Ryanair added that it had been threatened with the liquidation of 55 routes from Warsaw, out of a total of 57, and that LOT would, in fact, become a monopolist under illegal government legislation.

Poland could drastically cut back on flights to and from Warsaw from May 1 if a dispute with air traffic controllers over pay and conditions is not resolved.

Almost 90 percent of air traffic controllers in Warsaw decided to quit rather than accept new working regulations. Some have already left and the notice period for the remaining ends on April 30.

Under the new legislation, from May 1, the Chopin and Modlin international airports would only be operational from 0930 to 1700 hrs local time due to a lack of air traffic controllers.