That attitude, epitomised by the bristling persona of company boss Michael O’Leary, did not deter the 117m people who used the airline last year. The company suggested that it intended to carry just over 130m passengers this year — or at least it did before it cancelled approximately 50 of the 2,000 or so flights it manages each day over coming weeks, because it says it made a mess of scheduling pilots’ holidays.
Many years ago, when Mary O’Rourke was Minister for Public Enterprise, she said she often relaxed at the end of the day by taking a bath. Sometime later, when she pursued a policy that did not please Ryanair, the airline took out gratuitous ads showing Mrs O’Rourke enjoying her bath, suggesting that she relaxed as Ireland collapsed.
Since then, Mr O’Leary has been almost Trump-like in his criticisms of institutions and organisations that do not support his world view. He was especially hateful — and wrong — when he addressed a Fine Gael meeting a year ago. His
uncharacteristic silence, so far, on the cancellations debacle suggests he is more like Murphy’s dog than his public blowhard’s stridency suggests — he’s well able to give it but can’t take it. It would be to his benefit, and to his customers’ benefit too, if he and his company absorbed today’s obvious lesson.