Michael O'Leary and Alex Salmond: 'If you don't give me what I want I will go somewhere else'

RYANAIR chief executive Michael O'Leary says the airline is on the verge of signing agreements to send 300 maintenance jobs to Europe ending the prospect of it creating hundreds of engineering jobs in Dublin.

O'Leary said the government has just weeks to act to free up Hangar 6 at Dublin Airport for his use or the Ryanair board will approve the creation of maintenance hubs at two airports outside Ireland at a meeting next month.

"These jobs are going elsewhere unless the government gives us Hangar 6. I'm well down the road to moving these jobs offshore," O'Leary told the Sunday Tribune. "I don't have to create jobs in Ireland. I don't have to invest in Ireland. I have alternatives.

"I've lots of other governments who want to work with me. If you don't give me what I want I will go somewhere else."

The lease on the hangar, part of the former SR Technics site at the airport, was taken up by Aer Lingus last year after SR Technics pulled out of Ireland.

Tánaiste Mary Coughlan has said the government cannot force Aer Lingus to give up the building but would help Ryanair find another location at the airport or find it space at Shannon or Knock.

"If they change their minds in the next few weeks they can have these jobs. But we are not building a hangar anywhere else on the airport," he said.

O'Leary denied speculation that Ryanair's ultimate aim in seeking the hangar was to build a private passenger terminal in Dublin.

"There is no hidden agenda. We will give them written undertakings and they can put in restrictive covenants that if it is not used for heavy maintenance it will revert to the [Dublin Airport Authority]."

O'Leary said that if Ryanair did set up a maintenance operation in Dublin he will not negotiate with trade unions.

"I don't give a shite if you are in a union or not, but if you join my maintenance operation we won't be dealing with your union."