The evidence that Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary may be insane continues to grow, this time with his denunciation of seats belts and a call for standing room zones on aircraft.
His comments in this interview are not in one sense new.
But the tone has deteriorated to new lows, especially at the level of personal and vulgar insults aimed at his customers, airport owners, government officials, safety authorities and Airbus and Boeing, neither of whom appear prepared to give away their airliners for free and thus are included in growing list of the ‘enemies’ of the Ryanair business model, which is to redistribute things taken for nothing from others and package them up for a price to air travellers.
O’Leary’s antics belie his knowledge of aviation, including the consequences for an airliner like the 737-800 Ryanair uses, which is certified to carry no-more than 189 passengers seated, when the load would be increased beyond those limits by standing passengers to a point where some airports with short runways could no longer be legally accessed by the carrier.
His now somewhat hysterically delivered demands on Boeing and Airbus require a total redesign of such things as emergency exits, cabin air ducts and emergency oxygen systems in their single aisle jets and the flight testing and certification of the changes, all at very substantial costs.
The dilemma for observers of Ryanair is that the airline is very good at connecting dozens of neglected city pairs in Europe and the UK with time saving non-stop flights for a fraction of the fare charged by legacy carriers like Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France, for services that take two to three times as long because they require connections at major hub airports.
Ryanair is one of the great airline success stories, but run by a figurehead who looks and sounds increasingly mad or desperate.
A portfolio of photos of O’Leary simulating indecent acts with models of Ryanair 737s or otherwise making a total fool of himself can be found here.