Ryanair Challenges Italy's Flight Price Cap: A Standoff Over Sovereignty and Airfare

Ryanair’s Group CEO, Michael O’Leary, has declared the Italian government’s cap on flight prices to Sicily and Sardinia as “unlawful and unenforceable”. He made this statement during an interview with Reuters, also mentioning that Ryanair has filed a complaint with the European Commission. O’Leary, who was in Rome at the time, suggested that Ryanair might decrease its domestic flights to Sicily by 15-20% during the winter season, shifting its attention to international routes to the popular holiday destination instead.


The Italian government had previously prohibited airlines from increasing fares to Sicily and Sardinia more than “200% higher” than the average price for flights to these islands. This was an attempt to control price hikes during peak holiday seasons. Ryanair, being the largest airline operator in Italy, was quick to voice its opposition to this decision. O’Leary criticized the government for not thoroughly considering the implications of their decree and questioned their understanding of what constitutes an “average airfare”.

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In response to O’Leary’s comments, Industry Minister Adolfo Urso defended Italy’s sovereignty and refused to be intimidated. Despite the ongoing dispute, O’Leary affirmed Ryanair’s long-term commitment to growth in Italy. He revealed plans for the airline to receive 400 new aircraft over the next decade, with up to 100 of these being placed in Italy. This is part of Ryanair’s strategy to double its passenger numbers in Italy from 50 million to 100 million.

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O’Leary also expressed confidence that a 300 Boeing aircraft order would be approved at the company’s annual meeting this week. When asked about an engine issue with RTX Corp that could potentially ground some Airbus jets operated by Ryanair’s competitors, O’Leary downplayed its impact, stating it would only affect industry capacity in the short term.

Endless Possibilities

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