Ryanair’s Chief Commercial Officer, David O’Brien, had a meeting in the morning with the Minister of Economics, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism Mr. Giorgos Stathakis and Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mrs., Helen Koundoura.
As Mr. O’Brien told in a Press Conference held in the Commercial Chamber of Chania, it was the first time to meet the Minister of Tourism, although Ryanair tried a lot in the past to have a meeting with former Minister, Mrs. Olga Kefalogianni.
“Former Gov’t could not understand not even the basics of tourism. Greece is a beautiful country, but failed in tourism, due to airline connections. Think about Athens. The Greek capital has half the flights of Dublin, which is a smaller city with fewer attractions and sightseeings. If Athens has such a problem, it means that all regional airports in Greece have the same problem”, said Mr. O’Brien.
For the possibility of a full year route from Chania to London, Mr. O’Brien said that it is a matter of taxes… “We pay the same taxes in August and in January at Chania Airport. We would like to operate the route in a full year basis, but it is impossible. If the new Gov’t plans to change the taxation, then Ryanair can have more than 5 mil. passengers from and to Greece in the next three years. We know that it is very difficult for a Minister of Tourism to persuade a Minister of Economics… but we will wait. Mr. Stathakis and Mrs. Koundoura are positive in an open discussion”.
For the privatization of Greek regional airports, Mr. O’Brien said that Minister Stathakis asked for his opinion. “I definately believe that Greek regional airports should not be sold. A private monopoly is worse than a state monopoly. 1,2 bil euros are enough for me, but not enough for the Greek Gov’t… it’s just the expenses of a week”.