This topic has found its way onto another thread, and given that it has occupied lots of newspaper space and airtime over the last few days it is probably useful to discuss it here in terms of the economic issues. This has been a bit like a tennis match with the ball going back and forth for some time so it is hard to keep track of all the points.
On the one side we have Michael O’Leary who claims he wants to (re)create 300 jobs, but needs Hangar 6. On the other side we have Mary Coughlan and the DAA who say Hangar 6 is not available, as Aer Lingus has a lease on it.
While Michael O’Leary appears happy for other airports to build a facility for him, he does not seem to want the DAA or, given that he appears to prefers not to deal with them, the IDA to build a new hangar for him at Dublin airport. It would appear that the reason for this is cost – he claimed on radio that hangar 6 would be available at a low cost. No doubt Aer Lingus is also getting it at a low cost. In the debate some have argued that Ryanair is pursuing a different agenda – to open Hangar 6 as a terminal. Ryanair say they would be happy to sign a legal agreement preventing them from doing so. So what is this all about??
In a letter to the Irish Times the chairman of Aer Lingus, Colm Barrignton, makes the point that hangar 6 is the only hangar at Dublin airport capable of accommodating wide bodied planes, and that it is extensively used. Could the ability to accommodate wide bodied planes be the key to this scrap? At the moment Ryanair do not have any such aircraft, but might Ryanair have plans to get into the medium- and long-haul business? Aquiring hangar 6 would allow them to build a base in Dublin while at the same time discommoding Aer Lingus, which would be a competitor in that market?