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Ryanair's anger at d17million tax slur.

Byline: By LINDSAY FERGUS

FURIOUS Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary yesterday hit out at claims his airline had fleeced passengers of EUR17million.

Mr O'Leary called them "a complete and utter fabrication".

The low-fare airline's chief executive made the comments after a newspaper ran a story claiming Ryanair charged customers almost EUR17million a year in phantom taxes.

The report claimed although the airline billed passengers flying from Dublin EUR20.64 for extra payments, neither the Government nor aviation authority taxed passengers leaving the capital.

Yesterday Mr O'Leary said: "I think it is summer silly season. The press have nothing else to write about, so we get these made up stories from journalists who should know better."

The aviation boss claimed the article was based on nothing but unidentified industry sources.

He said: "Every passenger that goes through Dublin Airport pays a Passenger Service Charge (PSC), and other charges, which in Ryanair's case comes to EUR15.40. At Aer Lingus it comes to EUR20.

"The charges reflect what we pay the airport. Ryanair takes nothing from nobody.

"The notion that Ryanair overcharges when we offer the lowest fares in Europe is a fiction."

The claims come after a German TV programme accused the Irish airline of misstating taxes and fees, prompting calls for the EU Commission to launch an investigation in to the costs.

Mr O'Leary added: "If there is an investigation we will be happy to co-operate."

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 12, 2006
Words:239
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