Flamboyant Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary says he has “never tried to be intentionally rude” in the way he runs his no-frills airline.
Describing himself as a “cheeky chappy”, the Irish boss says customers are always right as long as they “comply by the rules”.
In a wide-ranging interview in The Times, Mr O’Leary says that although he has indicated that Ryanair is going to become more user friendly he is “certainly not a new man” adding “Neanderthal, more like”.
But he goes on: “I am soft, cuddly, misunderstood, with huge concern for my fellow human beings.”
He says people see him as “Jesus, Superman or an odious little shit”. Asked which one he thinks he is, he replies “Jesus” but that he sees himself as Brian in the Monty Python film Life of Brian in that “he is not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.”
He said that in the early days of the airline he pandered to an image. “We were cheeky chappies. But I never tried to be intentionally rude,” he says.
The Times interview shines a clear light on Mr O’Leary’s views. Global warming - “I don’t believe in it.” HS2 – “completely mad”. Governments – “there’s so much waste”. Women – “they should work”.
Men in the delivery room - “they’re entirely bloody irrelevant”.
He is equally trenchant about the debate on airport capacity, saying there should be additional runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
Airport policy, he says, is “a mess” with the Government “so terrified of a couple of Nimbys that they won’t make a decision”.