FRANKIE Daly, a local election candidate for Limerick City North, has criticised the increase in air fares to France for the Heineken Cup semi-final between Munster and Toulon this weekend.
Aer Lingus has brought forward the start of its summer schedule to Marseille while Ryanair flights are to nearby Nice. In some cases, the cost of travel on the weekend of the match has quadrupled with the cheapest return flights to Nice set at €400 and €600 to Marseille.
The 27-year-old Labour Party candidate, who is a former underage rugby international and member of the St Munchin’s team which won the Munster Schools Senior Cup in 2004, said the airlines’ “opportunism” left a sour taste.
“In both cases, the airlines are charging customers highly inflated prices. It’s nothing short of disgraceful. There is a huge feelgood factor around with Munster into the semi-final of the European Cup but with some of flights now close to €600, the cost is well beyond the means of many genuine supporters.
“I also feel that some of these fans will overstretch themselves in financial terms, which is totally unnecessary if either of the airlines played a fair ball with them.
“The sum involved in supporting Munster will be considerable when you consider flights, accommodation, travel, food, drink and such. Munster will still travel in their thousands but these fare price hikes are really unnecessary for two profit-making companies.”
He said that the price hikes could in future fall under the scrutiny of the strengthened Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, to be set up under new legislation.