Ryanair CEO wants answers from Spain on complaints file
O´Leary defends low-cost carrier from accusations he says constitute government campaign
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary sent a letter Tuesday to the Public Works Ministry about the campaign he believes has been started against his airline in Spain. The Irish businessman said Monday that he would address Minister Ana Pastor after she said the government was actively seeking more power to impose sanctions on foreign airlines.
In his letter, O’Leary refers to an article published in El Mundo on Monday, which stated that Ryanair managed to accumulate 1,201 incidents during the first half of the year.
However, O’Leary told EL PAÍS these include passenger claims for lost baggage and other routine complaints. He said that Irish legislation governs Ryanair because the airline is registered and based in Ireland and that Spain must take this on board.
As the company with the highest volume of flights in Europe, you can forgive us one or two technical mishaps"
On Monday the High Court announced that a 4,500-euro fine was to be handed to the airline for preventing an on-duty civil guard sergeant from flying with his service pistol.
It is requested in the letter that Public Works make available the Spanish Agency for Airline Security report that was the basis of the El Mundo story. He also notes that Spanish companies such as Iberia and Vueling which have recorded the same number of incidents don’t appear in the media. He asks the following question: Can you explain why the information about Ryanair is being filtered to the media through the Public Works office, or why there aren’t any “hard sanctions” – referring to the words of Pastor – being put on Spanish companies who have the same incident records as Ryanair?
Dividing his letter into different points, O’Leary states that Ryanair “isn’t a foreign company; it’s a European company with exactly the saw laws, rights and obligations with regards to security as other European airlines such as Iberia, Vueling, BA, Lufthansa or Air France.” Moreover, there is a reminder that during its 28 years of existence Ryanair is yet to have any serious incidents, and “as the company with the highest volume of flights in Europe, you can forgive us one or two technical mishaps or incidents,” adding the pilots “always deliver on their obligations.”
Pastor’s hopes of gaining a tighter control on sanctions of airlines have been hit by the European Commission (EC) announcement that Spain doesn’t have, and indeed cannot have, the powers that the government would like over such matters, and that even though an airline may have violated Spanish law, the final say on the matter of revoking Ryanair’s license comes down to Ireland. The statement declares that the EC is “pleased Spain is using every tool possible to watch out for passenger security,” adding that if it wished, the government is welcome to “present its findings to the European authorities,” something which, as of now, Madrid has not done.
Meanwhile Ryanair insists it is awaiting the official report on the three emergency landings that took place at Valencia airport on July 26 before making any comment, stating “the European authority in charge of investigating airline incidents is continuing with its investigation and when that is complete they will publicize their findings.” The CEO declared that his pilots would never violate passenger security, finishing his letter by telling the Public Works Ministry that he will send on the findings of the three emergency landing reports as and when they are made public.