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Business Briefs

Ryanair to further reduce ticket prices, Die Welt's publisher threatens closure, train workers plan more strikes.


Ryanair keeps going up, their prices keep coming down

Ryanair to cut ticket prices as air crisis continues

Low-cost carrier Ryanair continues to fly in the face of fashion and the continuing crisis in the airline industry by implementing further cuts in ticket prices. International airlines across the world continue to struggle in the worst environment in aviation history, with demand battered by a slowing global economy, increases in aviation fuel prices, the outbreak of the deadly SARS virus in Asia and war in Iraq. But Ryanair expects its passenger numbers to increase to 30 million next year as their flights get even cheaper. "While many airlines are raising prices because they have problems with costs, we will further cut our average price from €49," Chief Executive Michael O'Leary told German daily Handelsblatt. However, he did not give any specific time frame for the price cuts although O'Leary added that Ryanair planned to lower ticket prices by a further five percent annually over the next five years. The article in Handelsblatt also cited Lufthansa sources as saying their affiliated low-cost carrier, Germanwings, would add new routes to its timetable -- from Cologne-Bonn to Malaga, Alicante and Athens.

Publisher threatens the end of Die Welt

It could be the end of Die Welt as we know it if the newspaper's publisher decides to close it down if a proposed merger between the Berliner Zeitung and Tagesspiegel goes ahead. The Axel Springer company, publisher of the conservative daily newspaper, has said that efforts to stabilize losses at Die Welt would be completely undermined if the deal between the two papers goes ahead. Although the proposed merger was originally halted by German competition regulators, Tagesspiegel's publisher, Holtzbrinck, has appealed to the government for special dispensation - threatening to close the paper if its bid to buy the Berliner Zeitung is turned down. The regulator's decision is due next month. It is a desperate time for German print media with advertising revenues falling sharply, and circulation dropping off. Last year Springer merged Die Welt with the Berlin regional Berliner Morgenpost, in an effort to save money.

Train engineers want to strike on Wednesday

After delaying strikes on Germany's railways over Easter weekend, union leaders said Tuesday that train engineers could begin strikes as soon as Wednesday. The GDL, which represents Germany's train engineers, said officials had discussed how the strikes should proceed and when. The GDL had originally planned to begin strikes on Monday, but abandoned the idea when a labor court ruled against them. Deutsche Bahn, Germany's railway, and the 35,000-strong GDL have tried unsuccessfully to reach a labor agreement for more than a month. GDL helped shut down train travel across Germany for 45 minutes on March 6 in a warning strike ahead of negotiations.