EAMON QUINN: Some of the old O’Leary swagger returns

Some of Michael O’Leary’s old swagger is back, writes Eamon Quinn.

In commentary around Ryanair’s quarterly earnings, the airline boss suggested he would see down any attempt from pilots to gain further advantage from Ryanair’s self-inflicted rostering fiasco, and welcomed a probe from Britain’s aviation watchdog into the industry’s alleged policy of turning more profit by splitting families and friends in allocating seats.

Along with easyJet, Ryanair says it is happy to participate in the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority’s investigation. Mr O’Leary returned fire by suggesting it would be better employed probing long-haul airlines and their first-class seats.

Complaints on seat allocation have rumbled for a while, with consumers saying it’s a deliberate policy.

Dermott Jewell, policy adviser at the Consumers’ Association of Ireland, told the Irish Examiner “the consistency” of complaints should have prompted the Irish authorities to have initiated their own investigation.

“Is an investigation by the CAA going to change projections for the earnings of Ryanair? No,” said Davy analyst Stephen Furlong.

On the pilots, Mr O’Leary was back sounding warnings over preserving the airline’s low-cost, profit-generating model. A €750m buyback plan may help shares recover from the rostering fiasco.

Trading yesterday at €15.74, Davy predicts they will rise to €18, and Goodbody to €18.70, in the next 12 months.

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