Longford Leader's Mattie Fox: Finally, someone who cares about consumers speaks out

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Longford Leader's Mattie Fox: Finally, someone who cares about consumers speaks out

The quote below is verbatim from the IAA’s own website. It goes on far longer than the section quoted here, but you get the gist.

“The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is a commercial semi-state company employing approximately 650 people at six locations around Ireland. The IAA has three main functions: the provision of air traffic management and related services in Irish controlled airspace, etc., etc.. The air traffic management functions include: • Air traffic control • ATC flight information etc., etc. The safety regulatory functions includes: • Certifying and registering aircraft airworthiness. • Licensing personnel and organisations involved in aircraft maintenance. • Licensing pilots, air traffic controllers and aerodromes. • Approving and monitoring air carrier operating standards. The oversight of civil aviation security involves inspections and audits of airports, air carriers, cargo companies, airport suppliers and suppliers of in-flight services."

Ah yes, the Irish Aviation Authority reflects the great PR speak of its Government Controllers - although it does not receive any actual money from the state.

Ryanair have treated customers with great disdain and in carefree style, without a peep from anyone with real clout in Ireland.
It took the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK to finally make a stand against Ryanair.

“Ryanair show disregard for consumers, and for the law”, Andrew Haines the Civil Aviation Authority’s chief executive stated on Thursday last.

Finally, someone who cares about consumers speaks out.

As I write this, Michael O’Leary and Ryanair have, in the words of Michael Haines, “capitulated” to the CAA’s demands.

At that, they couldn't take their medicine without being petulant and citing the fact that the CAA didn't take such severe action against British Airways, conveniently overlooking the fact that BA had no control over their misfortune. Whereas Ryanair made a complete mess of its own.

Michael O’Leary certainly possesses some qualities that make for a successful politician.

Total detachment from the plight of the buying public; absolute disrespect for the inconvenience caused by his actions; no real care whatsoever how many families can be caused hardship and thrown into panic and chaos; an aloof attitude to anyone questioning his actions; telling unbelievable accounts instead of reasonable explanation.

How anyone studying the behaviour of Ryanair over the last decade could even begin to cite the “fantastic business man” as a model for running any society makes me shudder.

In fairness, most people draw conclusions on flawed end results.

Take the recent slightly stormy AGM of Ryanair.

Nobody bleated a word of concern - well not really in proportion to the chaos visited on the 300,000 or so families or individuals who had their plans arbitrarily torn up and cast aside.

This was before Ryanair announced the reduction of their entire winter schedule.

Certainly there were some relatively polite enquiries coming from a small quota of shareholders. After the meeting two shareholders were interviewed and said that they backed Michael O’Leary and one said that without Mr O’Leary there wouldn't be a Ryanair.

Ah yes, Ryanair was paying around €150,000 per day in compensation, at that stage. A week is a long time in politics!
At that early stage Mr O’Leary must have been rubbing his hands in glee.

A few hundred thousand in compensation was actually nothing.

Given that Ryanair has a turnover of €6.6 billion returning profits of €1.5 billion in the March 31, 2017 accounts, with 11,458 employees. At that stage the company was quoted as being worth north of €15 billion.

That's - to try and understand - €15,000,000,000

A tidy little sum.

That's the company’s net worth.

Michael O’Leary personally took his net worth over the €1.08 billion mark in February of last year - 2016.

Then he off loaded shares - this is something he has done periodically for the past twenty years - and on paper he is now worth around €700 million. The latest stock sell was after the airline peaked and he sold €68 million worth of shares.

This is not his net worth, which is more like around €2 billion, given his extraordinary range of assets in London and elsewhere.

To think that it bothers Ryanair a jot is to be very very naive.

Few people understand what €50 million means, never mind one billion.

This is real money, and for Michael O’Leary this places him above and beyond the stratosphere of real reality.

When anyone opines that Mr O’Leary could be the saviour of Ireland Inc, is to be truly unaware of how wealthy he has become.

Utter nonsense.

How would Ireland afford to pay him - even if he was interested. How foolish can the ordinary well educated person be?
Poppycock, that's all that is.

Michael O’Leary is one of the most ruthless businessmen in Ireland, and why wouldn't he be? After all, Ryanair is interested only in market share.

The fact that he has reduced all winter travel might come against him but it doesn’t really matter.

Ryanair will continue to thrive unless - and I do not see it happening - a large number of people are too exercised and can afford to take a different option when flying.

Michael O’Leary from the outset made a calculated judgement that the hard pressed public would literally tolerate anything to get a cheap flight.

Maybe, just maybe, the chickens are coming home to roost.

Sounds encouraging, but I doubt it very much.

Finally, a Ryanair memo, seen by the Guardian, appears to instruct call centre staff that if offering flights with other carriers, to do so provided the price “does not exceed three times the value of the original Ryanair fare”. So despite the CAA’s intervention Ryanair continue to push boundaries.

The document was criticised by consumer group, Which? – its managing director Alex Neill said: “Ryanair appears to be plucking figures out of thin air as there is no legal basis for the arbitrary figure they’ve set. The law says passengers must be rerouted and there’s no specified limit on cost. This yet again highlights the importance of the action which the Civil Aviation Authority has started.”

Typical Ryanair, still seeking to minimise losses.