22nd March 2014

Three questions for Michael O’Leary

Michael O’Leary may have a habit of disappointing his customers but he rarely disappoints when it comes to media hype. His latest wheeze [Ryanair Press Release 19 March 2014] is to claim that Ryanair will open eight new routes from Stansted this coming winter season creating 2,000 extra jobs.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has three questions for Mr O’Leary:

  1. He lists the eight new routes as Athens, Basel, Bordeaux, Bucharest, Perpignan, Prague, Rabat and Skelleftea. However, anyone with access to the internet can quickly discover that Ryanair already flies from Stansted to every single one of these destinations and in some cases it’s the third time Ryanair has issued a press release announcing the same ‘new’ routes. So SSE’s question to Mr O’Leary is “What exactly do you mean by new?”
  2. Mr O’Leary’s claim that his ‘new’ routes will generate an extra 2 million passengers and create an extra 2,000 jobs at Stansted is even more preposterous. That would mean a thousand jobs created for every million Ryanair passengers. According to Ryanair’s latest annual report the airline employed 114 staff for every million passengers carried. That would mean 228 jobs for an extra 2 million passengers. So SSE’s question to Mr O’Leary is “Where do the other 1,772 Stansted jobs come from?” Baggage handlers?
  3. Ryanair already accounts for over 75% of Stansted’s passengers and plans to expand its business at Stansted by 50% over the next 10 years, thereby returning Stansted to its pre-recession level of business, last seen in 2007. The difference however is that Stansted will then be even more dominated by Ryanair. SSE’s question to Mr O’Leary is therefore “Why not just buy Stansted and be done with it?” You could rename it London O’Leary Airport (LOL). At least people would then know it was nowhere near London, and the commercial possibilities would be endless. You could even start charging people a pound to use the airport’s toilets. Now there’s a thought!

Campaigning to ensure Stansted Airport's authorised operations stay below harmful limits