O'Leary facing pilot's revolt?

Whatever you think of Michael O’Leary’s free wheeling espousal of free market economics, many of us have found his Ryanair service is invaluable for getting around Europe at a decent price. However, it may it come at a price. Nearly all the airline’s Irish based pilots are complaining of victimisation stemming from O’Leary’s efforts to get them to accept repayment of “the €15,000 cost of their training if the airline was forced to deal with a trade union within the next five years”.

The number of victimisation claims received by the LRC has now topped 200, implying an average of two complaints for each of the roughly 100 Ryanair pilots based in the Republic. If all of the claims were to be upheld, Ryanair would face a potential compensation bill of more than €52 million. Ryanair has maintained that its pilots are among the best paid in the industry and can earn up to €130,000 a year.

  • JL Pagano

    Cheap flights are well and good, but O’Leary’s downright arrogance gets me so steamed I somethimes feel like actually defending Bertie Ahern, and that’s saying something!

    He puts himself across with his smarm and his lack-of-tie as a “man of the people”, but he is a businessman, no less. He needs taking down a peg or six.

  • Zepp

    I think O´Leary is great. What he has done with a small irish company i think is a great sign of what really can be done from this island of ours.

    ryanair abu.

  • Lafcadio

    By the way, to everyone conditioned to go to Ryanair as a default for cheap flights – always check out British Airways online for flights to Dublin, on the last several occasions I’ve flown to Dublin, BA have been cheaper by up to £50 sterling..

  • Young Fogey

    I always thought O’Leary was a scummer, so it’s nice to have it confirmed.

    to everyone conditioned to go to Ryanair as a default for cheap flights – always check out British Airways online for flights

    And not just Dublin. I recently flew HeathrowVienna with BA for £89, Ryanair were looking £160+ from some airstrip in a bog to Vienna or Graz.

  • Michael Turley

    Michael O’Leary doesn’t like unions and this is his way of disincentivising (apologies for the appalling term – I work for an American company and we use this type of awful language all the time) the pilots from forming a rebel alliance. I think it is not unfair seeing as they are paid better than most pilots (based on met targets, of course).

    I have never had any problems with Ryanairs service (apart from a late bus in Charleroi once).

  • la Dolorosa

    I did hear that O’Leary proudly compared his air passengers to cattle – ‘ You herd them on yourr heard them off’ which needless to say didn’t really endear him to me.

    Like lots of people I really resent giving Ryanair my money.

  • Michael Turley

    I’m not sure that Michael O’Leary did say that but in real terms that is what the airline industry is about at the moment – maximising profits by getting bums on seats. Ryanair has been an innovator in European air travel by getting people to travel more often by offering much better value (amongst other things – e.g. they pioneered ticketless flights in Europe) so even if he does use coarse terminology every so often I’m not too pushed as long as I get where I need to be going on time and within budget.

    I admire O’Leary for morphing Ryanair from a smaller family owned airline into the fairly dominant value carrier it is today. It is a fine achievement and it is great, for once, to have a high profile executive that doesn’t wallow in safe platitudes (especially at AGMs!).

  • La Dolorosa

    I think he did say that and I am sure he thinks it’s an admirable statement.

    I also read a debased commeent in the FT from one of Ryanair’s marketing/HR directors – about the possibility of their pilots forming some sort of association. H thought they would rather spend their money onlap dancers etc than giving it to some sort of pseudo trade union.

    Can’t wait for Stelios to take them over.