Italian officials to meet with Ryanair over plan to suspend flights
Italian aviation and government officials will host a conference in Rome on Thursday to discuss public air security procedures, an official from Italy’s Civil Aviation Authority, or ENAC, said.
The officials also will meet with representatives of discount airline Ryanair to discuss the airline’s threat to suspend flights to and from 10 Italian cities effective Jan. 23. Ryanair is popular with many military members and civilians, and flies into some airports close to U.S. bases, such as Pisa, Venice-Treviso and the Ciampino Airport in Rome.
The security portion of the conference was organized after the failed terrorist attempt to blow up a jetliner flying from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day prompted U.S. demands for tougher airline security, the ENAC official said.
Ryanair announced Dec. 23 it planned to stop its Italy domestic flights amid a dispute over the nation’s laws governing identification documents that passengers can show at airport gates.
In November, ENAC ordered airlines to comply with Italian law to accept government-issued documents, to include driving licenses, government badges, and fishing and hunting licenses, to identify passengers at boarding gates. The order applies to flights only within Italy, the ENAC official said.
Ryanair typically requires a passport or an national identification card at check-in.
On Dec. 29, ENAC issued a tersely worded press release following Ryanair’s announced plans to suspend Italy-based flights. The agency denounced the airline’s “stubborn” actions that “cast doubt on the respect and security controls of Italian authorities that create unfounded alarm and discredits our nation’s image,” reads the release posted on the Web site.
Italian officials hope Thursday’s meeting will prompt Ryanair to reverse its position.