The Irish Independent reports that Ryanair has
placed an $18bn (€14bn) order with Boeing to buy up to 200 aircraft, the
newspaper has learned.
The mammoth order – due to be confirmed by US President Barack Obama and
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the White House next week – is the single biggest
aircraft purchase ever agreed by Ryanair. It's also one of the biggest orders
ever placed with Seattle-based manufacturer Boeing.
It means Ryanair has all but thrown in the towel in its seven-year battle to
buy Aer Lingus, and will now focus once more on its own long-term expansions
efforts. A spokesman for the airline declined to comment.
The EU blocked Ryanair's third Aer Lingus takeover attempt two weeks ago.
The order will be used to replace some existing aircraft in Ryanair's fleet,
but it means the carrier will be in a position to extend its footprint to even
more corners of Europe and outside the region.
Ryanair is on target to carry 80 million passengers in the year to the end of
this month, and is in talks with as many as 60 airports about either adding
services or flying to them for the first time.
It has even been talking to airports in Israel. Ryanair chief executive
Michael O'Leary said in January that the airline was in the "fairly early stages
of talks" with Boeing in an effort to reach an agreement on pricing for new
jets. He's looking for orders to be delivered between 2015 and 2017.
That will help Ryanair boost its annual passenger figures to 120 million. He
said Ryanair would only place an order "when the price is right". Ryanair's
fleet currently comprises 305 Boeing 737-800 aircraft – the airline is the
world's largest operator of that type.
The 737-800 model currently has an $89.1m (€68.5m) list price, according to
the aircraft manufacturer. Last December, Ryanair received the final two
aircraft of a historical order it had with Boeing.
It's not clear at this stage whether Ryanair has plumped for the 737-800 or
Boeing's new 'Max' variation.
The new agreement also buries the hatchet in what was effectively a
three-year stalemate between Ryanair and Boeing.
The pair fell out in 2009 as Ryanair pulled a planned order for up
to 200 aircraft that had a $14bn list price (€9.8bn at the time). Mr O'Leary
described the collapse of that deal as "remarkable" given that the two
aviation firms had already agreed pricing for the jets. Boeing wanted to
alter some conditions Ryanair enjoyed, related to warranties, for instance.
Mr O'Leary labelled Boeing executives as a "bunch of idiots" and "numpties"
for letting the contract fall through. He also warned at the time that
Boeing, whose corporate HQ is in Chicago, would have to come back with a
"significant" discount for any subsequent deal to be done.
Ryanair has always pushed for tough terms with Boeing. In early
2002, soon after the terror attacks on New York and Washington, Ryanair
placed an order for 100 aircraft with Boeing, taking advantage of depressed
Those aircraft had a $9.1bn list price at the time, but the
manufacturer gave Ryanair a steep discount to secure the order.
The Irish Independent also reports that
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has put further pressure on the European Union for some of
the debts which were sustained by taxpayers as a result of the banking crisis,
to be restructured.
Speaking in London this morning, where he is on a
whirlwind trip in advance of St Patrick’s Day, the Taoiseach said the EU needs
to take responsibility for decisions made following the crash in 2008.
He also said Irish banks need to “reskill” so
that they can lend prudently and cut down on costs to return to private
“The principle that there can be no shared
European taxpayer responsibility for banks without shared control and
supervision is reasonable,” Mr Kenny told an audience in the City of London.
“But the corollary must also be true; where the
policy for dealing with bank failures was determined at European – and not
national – level, so too must the burden of the legacy costs of those policies.”
Mr Kenny is making a series of addresses
throughout the day before meeting with British prime minister David Cameron at
No 10 Downing street this evening.
He said he supported Britain’s continued
membership of the EU.
“We see the British relationship with the EU as
being a two way relationship - Britain benefits from its membership of the EU,
and the EU is better off with Britain as a leading member making a valued
contribution,” he said.
The Irish Times reports that
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has issued a warning to the banks to
co-operate with a new Government plan to settle the personal debt crisis, saying
they have no reason not to.
The initiative, to be unveiled
tomorrow, marks a new effort to tackle tens of thousands of mortgage arrears.
The plan includes measures to facilitate repossession as a last resort, with the
focus on the owners of investment properties who are in default.
It comes amid criticism of a new
Revenue website setting out property valuations as the tax authority contacts
1.66 million homeowners with estimates of their property tax liability. Revenue
has reported some 207,000 “hits” on the site on Sunday after it went live but
has no figure for the number of individual unique users who logged on.
Mr Noonan said the mortgage
arrears crisis has festered for too long and that the Government was
disappointed it was not settled earlier.
“This has to be dealt with in the
interest of the people who are in debt because they can’t manage their full
mortgage repayments, but also in the interest of the country,” he said in
Limerick. “You can’t have 100,000 families in a small country not participating
in the growth of the economy and they can’t participate if they are burdened
Although the banks have claimed
they lacked the tools to confront the problem, Mr Noonan said that was no longer
“The banks themselves lacked
staff who could inter-relate with people who had impaired mortgages but they
have trained up significant numbers of staff now and they have the menu of
solutions, so there is no particular reasons why they wouldn’t proceed and they
are committed now to proceed and we will have details of the arrangements they
have made with the Central Bank going on later this week.”
Mr Noonan backed Department of
Finance secretary general John Moran, whose remarks last week on repossessions
went down badly with some Cabinet members.
He said the mortgage system would
collapse without the threat of repossession and said landlords collecting rent
on buy-to-let properties should pay the interest on their mortgages.
“The policy is in terms of
personal mortgages on family homes is that repossession would be a last resort
but you have to have repossession as part of the set of solutions because many
of us have mortgages and we know the basis of it. You get a loan and the deeds
of the house are taken by the bank and if the deeds are no use and they can
never get possessions of the property, why would you pay?” Mr Noonan said.
The Irish Times also reports that
large pension payments to former taoisigh should be cut in line with public
sector pension reductions but the Government has been legally advised to take
proportionate action to reduce them, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and
Innovation Richard Bruton has said.
The Government understood the public anger over the pension payments to former
taoisigh, said Mr Bruton, and has “sought to do everything possible within legal
advice to deal with this”.
Speaking in Washington, the Minister – whose brother John will receive a reduced
annual pension of ¤134,728 following a new plan to cut public pensions by 5 per
cent – said that the reductions were in line with cuts being imposed on the
pensions of serving politicians.
“Clearly these are construed as property rights so the Government is under an
obligation to be proportionate in its action,”he added.
He was responding to a report in yesterday’s Irish Times , which revealed that
the pensions paid to former taoisigh Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern rank among the
highest in Europe.
Mr Cowen and Mr Ahern each receive annual pensions of ¤150,163 but this will
drop to ¤142,655 under the plan to reduce public sector pensions.
These compare with £70,000 (¤80,000) paid to former British prime ministers
Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. Former leaders in Germany, Spain and Greece are
also paid substantially less than their Irish counterparts.
Mr Bruton said that the Government was eager to reduce the pensions of former
political leader and other public sector pensions.
“There is a real appetite to do that and make sure that the burden of adjustment
is fairly spread and in particular borne by those who are on substantial
pensions from the public service,” he said.
“There is an appetite to do that but we also realise that there are legal
constraints of proportionality that have to be observed.”
The Irish Examiner reports that
the State paid €30m last year relating to the lease of 82 Nama-related
In a written Dáil response to Sinn Féin TD Peadar
Tóibín, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has confirmed: “Nama advises that 48
properties are located in Dublin and the neighbouring counties of Wicklow,
Kildare and Meath; these account for 76% of total rental income.
“There are 24 properties located in counties Limerick, Cork and Galway and these
account for a further 21% of total income. The residual properties are located
throughout the rest of Ireland and account for 3% of rental income.”
Mr Tóibín asked Mr Noonan on the need to address the upward only rent clauses on
Mr Noonan replied: “Nama has no legal role in relation to the contracts between
property owners/appointed insolvency practitioners and third parties.
“Any discussion on rent reviews is a matter for the property owner/appointed
insolvency practitioner and the tenant, and these discussions will be dealt with
on a commercial basis and in accordance with the Nama guidelines. Nama, in its
role as secured lender, is agreeing rent abatements through its debtors and
insolvency practitioners to support small businesses around the country that are
struggling to survive because of the current economic environment.”
He said that “Nama’s mandate is to achieve the best possible return for the
taxpayer from the management and sale of its acquired bank assets and that the
Nama board has a mandate to independently frame its decisions in this context.
“Given the independence afforded to Nama by the Nama Act, I have no role as
minister for finance in relation to strategies applied by Nama to maximise
income generation from individual assets securing its loans and to ensure that
interest and principal on the debt are repaid by a debtor.”
However, Mr Tóibín said yesterday in order to save the taxpayer money, “as a
first step, the Government needs to direct Nama to remove the upward only rent
clauses and agree a market value rent for all tenants.
“Secondly the Government needs to examine fully each of these leases to
establish if it would be more cost effective to transfer the property from Nama
to the Government body concerned to reduce the cost to the public purse.
“Without these steps, the Government will continue to artificially inflate
commercial property values and leave the taxpayer on the hook for years to
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