By Stephen McKinley
Ryanair said last week that it will buy 100 new 737-800 aircraft from U.S.-based Boeing, just weeks after Easyjet, Ryanair’s main rival in the cut-price airfare war, said it would make similar purchases. The deal would make Ryanair the biggest airline in Europe, overtaking long-established flag carriers like British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa.
Last fall, Ryanair placed advertisements in specialist magazines seeking used Boeing 737s.
Because manufacturers have had cancellations from airlines, industry watchers noted that Ryanair was in a position to negotiate a good price for new aircraft.
Ryanair, which transported 10.24 million passengers last year, will also take options on 50 additional aircraft. The total cost of the deal is $9.1 billion, which Boeing, of Seattle, said was the biggest contract made by any single company for the new 737-800 model.
It was a blow for Airbus, the European consortium that had been negotiating with Ryanair and hoped to get a foothold in the low-fares airline market. Earlier this month Airbus said it would be shedding 6,000 jobs this year after new orders tumbled 44 percent last year.
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Meanwhile, in a bit of bad news form the airline, an expert tasked with assessing Ryanair’s demand for a new low-cost terminal at Dublin airport has come out against the airline’s request.
Doganis was brought in by the taoiseach after reported divisions in the cabinet on whether to back a low cost “Pier D” plan for the airport. He said that a Ryanair terminal would force Aer Rianta, which manages the airport, to charge other airlines more, according to the Irish Times.
U.S.-Ireland Business Summit
The organizers of the U.S.-Ireland Business Summit, scheduled for Sept. 4-6, announced today the first in a series of three industry sector roundtable meetings being organized in advance of the September Summit.
The U.S.-Ireland Business Summit Biotechnology/Life Sciences Industry Roundtable will be held Thursday, Feb. 7, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Secretary’s conference room at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and American Home Products President and CEO Robert Essner will serve as hosts of the Biotechnology Industry Roundtable.
They will be joined by biotechnology leaders from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United States. The Biotechnology Industry Roundtable will analyze potential growth areas in the biotech sector and the comparative state of the industry in the U.S., Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Cheap fuel is ahead for motorists, as supermarket giant Tesco plans to open new gas stations across Ireland at its outlets. With 74 stores nationwide, it is likely that several dozen stations will eventually be opened.
Tesco Ireland has received planning permission for filling stations attached to three of its stores, at Finglas and Sandyford Road in Dublin and Killarney, Co. Kerry.
Director of Consumer Affairs Carmel Foley said that consumers have often complained that fuel prices vary so much around the country.
“Anything that can give motorists greater choice and possibly cheaper petrol is welcome, and experience has shown that people can get better value by shopping around,” she said.
However, the Society of the Motor Industry in Ireland, representing many small gas station owners around the country, has appealed all three decisions to An Bord Plean_la. SIMI chief executive Cyril McHugh is concerned about the impact on the petrol retail industry and on small Irish towns.
Tesco has been operating stations at its bigger stores in Britain for a number of years, where, McHugh claims, stations have been forced out of business because of the lower Tesco prices.
“Not alone that, but they wipe out petrol stations for miles around and some town centers in Scotland have died because locals are driving longer distances to do their shopping and get cheaper petrol,” McHugh said.
Irish Times layoffs
The Irish Times will lay off 30 more workers next week, according to a report in the Examiner newspaper.
The 30 will be mainly temporary and contract staff and a deal will be put to the overall staff about achieving 250 redundancies and voluntary layoffs with severance over the next year.
Once staff are informed, they will be permitted to apply for the severance deal, but it will not be accepted or rejected until terms are voted on.
Talks concerning redundancies in the different areas of the newspaper and the new structures are expected to be completed by Feb. 22, and the unions say they are committed to ensuring voting will take place in the week ending March 1.
Despite a challenging business year, the Irish technology firm QUMAS, with headquarters in Cork and Florham Park, N.J., has announced its best year ever.
In a statement issued to shareholders, employees and business partners, CEO Paul Hands noted that, “As a result of our ability to provide Life Sciences customers with an unsurpassed, industry-proven, out-of-the-box Enterprise Compliance Management solution, QUMAS enjoys a healthy, on-going business. Since the beginning of 2001, we have increased corporate revenues 90 percent over our year 2000 performance. Our staff has doubled since 2000, with several new key executive appointments to help drive our overall strategy.”
QUMAS is the leading developer of Enterprise Compliance Management Solutions, which is designed to help regulated industries ensure regulatory compliance.