| Press Release - 12 June 2009
IRELAND 6 - SPAIN 0
Irish airline team Ryanair has this week scored another resounding victory over the fast-fading Spanish team Ferrovial BAA.
The long running needle match - made all the more interesting by the fact that Ryanair still accounts for two out of every three passengers at Stansted despite having switched a large proportion of its business to other UK airports - continues to be played out on the Spanish team's home ground at Stansted Airport.
Amongst the many criticisms of the BAA team has been the constant management changes since being acquired by the Spanish company Ferrovial three years ago and the fact that it has been scoring far too many own goals. On the eve of the credit crunch and recession Ferrovial BAA imposed a 100 per cent hike in the admission charges at Stansted resulting in a huge exodus of paying customers. Last month it catered for 21% fewer passengers than in the same month two years ago.
The weakness of Ferrovial BAA's defence was also dramatically exposed three months ago when the Competition Commission ordered it to sell three of its seven UK airports, including Stansted. It has also been losing its political supporters with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats both now totally opposed to expansion plans for Stansted Airport. However, Ferrovial BAA can perhaps take some long term comfort from having the continued support of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling.
Undeterred by the plummeting passenger numbers, the decline in political support and the Competition Commission ruling, Ferrovial BAA not only insist on pressing ahead with a huge increase in Stansted's capacity but also in building this to "gold-plated, Taj Mahal standards". This is anathema to Irish coach Michael O'Leary who has groomed his team using the opposite tactics of minimum frills and minimum cost.
The Irish coach seems to have the tactical upper hand having recognised that his customers' key priority is simply to get to their European stag night at the cheapest possible price, leaving maximum spending money for beer and other incidentals.
Stop Stansted Expansion Economics Adviser, Brian Ross, commented: "Sadly, the beautiful game is now entirely dominated by money. Moreover, it now seems that the Spanish oligarchs, having overpaid for a UK team, now have neither the money, the players or the tactical know-how to avoid relegation to the second division."
NOTE TO EDITORS
Detailed statistical analysis of the decline in Stansted passenger numbers, flights and cargo tonnage over the past two years is available from SSE upon request.
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE: M 0777 552 3091, firstname.lastname@example.org