Ryanair boss: I am soft, cuddly, misunderstood

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”.

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Enterprise Ireland deal opens US healthcare market to Irish firms

Flender is the money app that wants to replace loan companies with your social network

This hydrogen-powered semi truck that can travel 1,200 miles on single refuelling could be the future of cargo transport

Government reveals strong income and corporation tax returns


Today's Stories

Custom House Capital director gets longest ever disqualification

AIB update boosts profile

Troika: Budget 2017 leaves Ireland vulnerable to shocks

UK construction sees unexpected monthly boost

Lifestyle

Top eight foodie gifts for Christmas under €10

How to be a better person in the digital age

Dublin Strolls provides a guide to the rich interiors of the city's architecture

The people behind the gardens

More From The Irish Examiner