February 25, 2007

Ryanair Sparks Surgeon Commutes, European Vacation Home Frenzy

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Andrzej Majewski, a Pole who works as a thoracic surgeon in the U.K., catches a ride to the airport in Wroclaw on Sundays and hops a Ryanair Holdings Plc flight to his hospital in Nottingham, England.

Most Fridays he commutes home to southwest Poland. The flights cost him about $50 each way.

``It takes about three hours, and I'm eating lunch at my house,'' Majewski, 47, says.

Dublin-based Ryanair, Europe's biggest budget airline, and its main rivals, No. 2 EasyJet Plc and No. 3 Air Berlin Plc, are drawing a new map of how people and money travel in Europe.

Fares as low as 1 euro cent, or $0.013, plus tax, encourage workers to jump borders for jobs, pump up real estate prices in France and -- to the horror of residents of towns newly served by the carriers -- spur British bachelors to shop for cheap beer and strippers in Prague and Riga, Latvia.

No-frills airlines also let Europeans seek cut-rate health care in Malta, Poland and Spain.

An implant and crown that cost 2,500 euros in the U.K. go for 1,400 euros in a Polish dentist's office, says Marcin Gaborski, a board member of Dental Clinic HAHS in Szczecin. English patients have boosted the clinic's income by as much as 10 percent in the past year.


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