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Friday 23.02.2018 | Name days: Haralds, Almants

Latvia loses court process against Ryanair; losses could reach three million

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvia in the face of Riga International airport has lost the court process against Irish low-cost airline Ryanair in the London Court of International Arbitration and will be obligated to pay EUR 802,000 to the airline to cover its losses, curt expenses and other court-related expenses.

The court of arbitration also agreed that Ryanair did not have to pay additional fee for air navigation services, which means it is no longer obligated to pay its debt of nearly EUR 2 million to the airport, as reported by Pietiek.

Information regarding the court process and other details shows that Latvia has failed to convince the court that the contract between Riga International airport and Ryanair signed by once the Latvian Transport Minister Ainars Slesers was illegal. There are details stated in documents that confirm Slesers was, indeed, the main driving force behind the signing of the contract, which was once unsuccessfully investigated by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau.

Even though the decision was made by the court of arbitration one and a half months ago, decisions regarding any compensation for Ryanair have yet to be made. Information regarding details of the court process and the court ruling, which takes up 66 pages, are currently in the hands of involved law firms.

However, information from sources shows that the court has recognized nearly all requests of Ryanair and has declined Riga airport’s counter-claim regarding a EUR 2 million compensation for the Irish airline’s unpaid debts. The court based its decision on ex-minister Slesers’ July 23rd, 2004 signed and December 10th, 2007 amended contract between Ryanair and Riga airport.

This contract states that the fee Ryanair is to pay to Riga airport includes runway maintenance services and fee for air navigation services in the terminal zone, as well as ‘any other taxes, duties and fees that apply to Ryanair’s passenger and transport services at Riga airport that exist or may be introduced by the state or airport.’

The conflict surrounding expensive air navigation services, which are provided by another state company (Latvijas Gaisa satiksme), was one of the central matters discussed in the court of arbitration. LGS had previously won court processes in Latvian courts with Ryanair. Now the London court has ordered LGS to compensate Ryanair court expenses worth EUR 13.4 thousand.

In its interpretation of the contract signed during Slesers’ time as minister, the court of arbitration concluded that the fee for air navigation services was already included in the contract between Ryanair and the airport. The growing argument about air navigation fees was the reason why Ryanair has not been paying the airport its dues. The total amount of debt the airline has before the airport is approximately EUR 2 million. It can be concluded from the ruling of the court of arbitration that the airline had good reasons not to pay. With that, it is likely the airport will never get back the money.

The ruling of the London court not only cements consequences caused by Slesers’ illegal contract, but also reveals the matter regarding the overall legality of the airport’s introduced security fee, which has been in play since January 1st, 2012 and has been collecting additional fees from Ryanair passengers since then. The court has informed Ryanair that the airline has the right to inform its passengers that they were not obligated to pay the security fee in the first place, and that they are now have the right to request their money be returned to them.


Leave a reply

  1. Ruta says:

    I don’t think I will make the claim from the airport. Last year I used Ryanair 14 times to fly to UK. It would be terrible if the airport went bust and closed.

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  2. mike walsh says:

    Maybe someone will make my day and prove me wrong. For years I have been saying that the Baltic States international services are archaic, almost Soviet era. Compare the figures of Sweden and Norway’s air traffic and international airports. The airport at Vilnius is smaller than an air training camp in Southport, an English seaside resort. Spain is second only to the United States in tourism; try catching a flight there from the Baltic States.

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    • jj says:

      Well I fly to Barcelona regularly with no problem – AirBaltic has two flights a day direct from Riga.

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    • jj says:

      Actually Spain is fourth tourism destination – it France, then US, the China, then Spain.

      Stockholm airport at 21M passengers a year, Sweden population 9.5M
      Riga airport has 5M passengers a year, Latvian population 2M

      Not so big a different really.

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  3. Inna says:

    Ass hole. I regular pay my fee, witch is illegal. Give me back my money !!!

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