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Airlines say new flight routes to and from Scotland will bring valuable tourism

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Ryanair wants public money for new routes

Ecologist

20th October, 2009

Ryanair is calling on the Scottish Government to further subsidise air travel

Ryanair deputy chief executive Michael Cawley has met with Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney today to ask for the Air Route Development Fund (ARDF) to be reintroduced, or for a similar fund to be set up.

The ARDF, which provides financial support to airlines setting up new flight routes, and was scrapped by the SNP in 2007 as part of an agreement with the Scottish Greens to switch the funding to public transport instead.

The Green Party called the move a, 'shameless bid for a bung from the taxpayer'.

'Any reversal of that decision would put the Scottish Government in the pocket of Ryanair and would make a mockery of Scotland's recently-agreed climate change targets,' said Scottish Green Party MSP Patrick Harvie.

'We don't need to stop flying altogether, but the idea that we can just keep expanding aviation year after year while still taking climate change seriously is absurd.

'The Scottish tourism industry can have a great future, but it will mean attracting people from closer to home, who can get here by rail and by ferry, as well as Scots who want to see more of their own country.

'The answer is not to develop more opportunities for Ryanair to make a fast and dirty buck from the public purse,' he said.

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