Ryanair considering ″fat tax″ for overweight passengers | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 22.04.2009
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Ryanair considering "fat tax" for overweight passengers

Irish budget airline Ryanair has said it is considering a “fat tax” for overweight passengers. It says that's what its passengers want.

A Ryanair jet takes flight

Ryanair feels its profits are being weighed down by overweight passengers

The move is in response to an online poll run by the airline in which travelers were asked to vote on the best way the airline could cut costs. Nearly 30,000 people – almost a third of those canvassed – voted for a fat tax.

Ryanair said on its Web site it was now asking for passenger submissions on how it could implement a fat tax.

Options include a charge per kilogram over 130 kg for men and 100 kg for women; a charge for every waist inch over 45 inches for men and 40 inches for women; and a charge for a second seat if a passenger's waist touches both armrests simultaneously.

"These charges, if introduced, might also act as an incentive to some of our very large passengers to lose a little weight," said Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara.

An overweight man walks the streets of Washington

Big bellies may no longer be tolerated on Ryanair flights

"The revenues from any such fat tax will be used to lower the airfares for all Ryanair passengers yet further."

North Rhine-Westphalia pullout

The cost-cutting exercise comes as the airline threatened Wednesday to discontinue use of a regional airport in Weeze, North Rhine-Westphalia, in western Germany.

The warning followed a decision by an administrative court in the city of Muenster limiting after-hours operations at the airport.

Ryanair said that if the ruling was not reversed, it would withdraw from the airport. It has already stopped taking bookings for flights to and from Weeze after May 2.

The Weeze airport is Ryanair's second-largest destination in Germany. The airline transits 2.5 million passengers through the airport every year, news agency Reuters reports.

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