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RYANAIR Chief calls Greek Gov’t “lunatics” & “nutters” and wants exemption from Athens Airport Taxes & Fees

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, has said that Greece elected “a bunch of lunatics”. In an outburst of solidarity with EU taxpayers, O’Leary said “You can’t be bloody retiring, sitting in a cafe drinking coffee and expecting the Germans or the Irish or the Portuguese to pay for you.” At the same time, cheap flyer Ryanair tried for one more time to take advantage of the Greek economic situation and said that it would join the initiative of Athens airport Eleftherios Venizelos to offer very cheap tickets from €0-€10 for the month of July, if Ryanair is exempted from free and airport taxes.

Telegraph – Ryanair chief: Syriza are “a bunch of lunatics”

Michael O’ Leary said “You can’t be bloody retiring, sitting in a cafe drinking coffee and expecting the Germans or the Irish or the Portuguese to pay for you.”

Ryanair has been forced to take cash from Greeks to pay for tickets as their cards are not working due to capital controls.


“The Greek situation is a tragedy, the difficulty for the Greeks is that they think that just by electing a bunch of lunatics you’re going to get away from austerity.

“As we learned from our pain in Ireland, you can talk tough all you like but when next week you have to borrow from the Germans to pay the teachers and the pensions and everything else, at some point you run out of road.

“I think the results of the Greek election is a tragedy and I think the Tsipras-ers are a bunch of nutters.

“They are making a bunch of promises to their people about public pay and public pension, which our government found a number of years ago you can’t honour unless you borrow from the Germans.

“If you want to borrow from the Germans, you have to take the medicine.”

He also said that Ryanair is talking to the Greek government today about carrying people for free for the next two weeks on some of the domestic routes.” (Irish Mirror via Telegraph)

While the notorious Irish Scrooge is allegedly talking with the Greek government “lunatics” for the Athens Airport July Action , we should reckon, that back in April 2013, Ryanair had tried to blackmail benefits and preferential treatment from Athens Airport promising travelers vs airport tax & fees reduction.

Ryanair – Athens Airport clash over decreases in fees and taxes

Low cost airline Ryanair promised to bring 10 million tourists to Greece within the next three years, should Athens airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” reduce taxes and fees. Ryanair asked Eleftherios Venizelos to decrease the tax from current 12 euro per passenger down to 5 euro and bring it down to zero in other, peripheral airports.

Ryanair had described the tax policy of Athens International Airport as the “biggest problem for the tourism growth in the Greek capital,” and had also expressed fears that the privatizations of  Greek regional airports [planned at that time] “would lead to charge increases and make them uncompetitive too.” (full story KTG 25. April 2013)

The answer from Athens International Airport came very quickly: it rejected Ryanair’s proposals saying that the “AIA has chosen to actively support the airlines investing in ongoing, long-term presence, aiming at development.” also then Development Minister had apparently rejected Ryanair’s “promising plan.” (full story KTG 25. April 2013)

PS May I ask who is the lunatic here?


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  1. Always interesting to see how many people are willing to use one-way logic, as long as it is in their own interest.

    Insisting on long term logic seems the right idea. Same for negotiations with the euro group.

  2. This another good reason why not to fly RyanAir, whenever possible…..

    • Truth hurts… I’m so hopeing for GREXIT, I can’t stand the prouds greeks self-pitiness any more. Please, it’s your own fault that you
      seem not to be able to build up a working government and pay taxes, it’s definetliy not the problem of the other 27 eurostates you insult on a day by day basis. Just begin to change your culture! We can collect money for you every few years, if you don’t pay taxes and a social system we’ll never see an end of the crisis.

      Every other country get’s it worked out, what’s wrong with greece?

      Greetings from Germoney, and now you can call me a Nazi.

  3. O’Leary is an ignorant nasty piece of work, so this is par for the course. I would never travel on Ryanair: they treat their passengers badly and refuse to obey EU law on compensation for delays until they are dragged into the courts.
    Ryanair is the ugly and successful face of neoliberal capitalism — embraced by the uneducated and poor because it is cheap (and nasty).

  4. I was about to book 5 tickets on RyanAir from Athens to Santorini. However after Michael O’Leary’s outburst and straight-out disrespect for Greece and the Greek people, he can kiss my @ss. I’m flying Aegean Airlines.

  5. Michael O’Leary is the lunatec and no one wants to fly with Raynair anyways!!! We don’t want him or his business around!!!

  6. Being subject of tax exemptions is Ryanairs standard business model. It tries it everywhere, often succesfully.

  7. not worth commenting.
    I give him my contempt

  8. This is a summary of an article published in The Irish Times on May 1st 2010.

    Ryanair receives huge subsidies from European airports – and has won its latest battle to retain them – but the EU continues to investigate the practice

    TO THE FURY of Lufthansa, and the delight of Ryanair, the citizens of the north German city of Lübeck last weekend voted almost two to one in favour of continuing taxpayer subsidies to keep their airport (called Hamburg by Ryanair), open for at least another two years. The German airline had exhorted cash-strapped Lübeckians to put creches, classrooms and hospital beds before wealthy Irish carriers. As far as Lufthansa is concerned, the airport is just one of 200 regional EU airfields which Ryanair relies upon to funnel hundreds of millions of what Lufthansa calls “questionable subsidies” direct to its balance sheet.

    Lufthansa says that if Ryanair was stripped of free or subsidised airport services in addition to cash, in the form of “marketing support”, it would lose money. “If all the airport subsidies and support paid to Ryanair were taken away, its economic situation would be very different,” says the Thomas Kropp, a spokesman for the German airline.

    Not only were some airports providing free staff for Ryanair check-in desks, they also cleaned the planes for nothing. Ryanair aircraft often landed free of charge, and where fees were charged they were offset by the massive “marketing support” demanded by the airline. This marketing money meant that, in return for cash running into many millions, the airports and their regions were promised publicity on Ryanair’s website and in its in-flight magazine.

    But, pointed out the cour, a half-decent ad agency would have spent that money far more productively. The auditor concluded that most of the cash went straight into boosting Ryanair’s profits.

    In some cases, net subsidies amounted to as much as €32 per passenger carried, as with Rodez, a French airport where Ryanair benefited to the tune of at least €3.2 million between 2004 and 2006 for just three flights per route per week. At Brest, subsidies totalled €23 per passenger. At busier Beauvais (Ryanair’s Paris), the subsidy per passenger between 2001 and 2006 was a more modest €9, but total aid in cash and benefits still amounted to €28.6 million.

    Some airports can barely afford these subventions. At Bergerac, the cour found that Ryanair gained €2.3 million worth of subsidy from an airport which itself needed annual local government subsidies of €500,000 to stave off bankruptcy.[How is this legal?]

    Subsidies for new routes are perfectly legal – Dublin airport offers them all the time – but according to EU guidelines they should be for a limited period (usually three to five years) and should decline in value year on year. The intention is that they end when a route is starting to become profitable.

    The general council of Charentes, which operates Angoulême Airport, in 2008 agreed to pay Ryanair almost €1 million in three annual payments, but as it raised the final €225,000 due for this year it was hit out of the blue by a Ryanair demand for a further €175,000. The alternative to paying up was a Ryanair pull-out. Other European airports have reported similar tactics as Ryanair seeks not just to continue subsidies but to increase them.

    At present, airports which refuse to pay up can have their Ryanair services cancelled almost overnight, to be started up again within days at a neighbouring airfield. The company is able to do this because there is no limit to the subsidies a company can claim in any one region, and because there is no obligation to repay subsidies when a service is withdrawn. Critics say this loophole could be plugged by outlawing further subsidies to the same airline within, say, a 50-mile radius.

    Efforts to limit subsidy shopping by Ryanair and other low-cost airlines were dealt a blow when, in 2008, Ryanair won an appeal against an EU Commission decision that the generous subsidies it enjoyed at Charleroi (near Brussels) were illegal. The airline insists that this means all its other subsidised services are, by default, also legal, but Commission insiders advise caution. They suggest that the Charleroi decision was thrown out as much for serious procedural errors as for the righteousness of Ryanair’s subsidy demands.

    Until the new EU Commission took office this spring, airline competition and state aid issues were largely handled within the Transport Directorate. Last week a Brussels functionary admitted that, all things being equal, the Transport Commissioner has always tended to arrive at decisions which favoured increased air access to the regions over competition issues.

    That attitude is now expected to change dramatically as the European Commissioner for Competition has assumed authority over all competition and state aid complaints, irrespective of sector. Lufthansa insiders say this will mean that the half-dozen or so surviving complaints about Ryanair subsidies, which have languished for years, will now be fast-tracked and decisions handed down in the near future.

    In response to questions for this article, Ryanair released the following statement: “As you are undoubtedly aware the European Court of First Instance in December 2008 has already dismissed these claims (and the EU guidelines which were based on the original unlawful Charleroi decision) when it found, in the Charleroi case, that Ryanair’s airport agreements fully complied with EU competition rules and were NOT therefore either state aid or subsidy. The European Commission also confirmed these findings when in January 2010 they dismissed similar claims in the case of Bratislava airport.”

    In the meantime, there is alarm in airline circles at the Ryanair proposal to appoint Charlie McCreevy to its board. As a former EU commissioner for the internal market, he has an almost unrivalled understanding of how Europe’s economy functions. He could be in a superb position to suggest strategies to continue its subsidy regime. The Commission is probing the proposed appointment, but so far there is no indication that it will outlaw it.

    Low-cost airline?

    – €35 million in subsidies were paid to Ryanair by various French airports in 2006.

    – Subsidies to Ryanair amounted to €32 per passenger at Rodez Airport, in France, where the airline benefited to the tune of at least €3.2 million between 2004 and 2006 for just three flights per route per week

    – At Bergerac, Ryanair gained €2.3 million worth of subsidy from an airport which itself needed annual local government subsidies of €500,000 to stave off bankruptcy

    It must also be said that in 2014 Ryanair got a £6 million fine for violation labour laws in France and was also voted the second worst brand in Europe after the Axa insurance company. The answer to M. O’leary is very simple, stop flying Ryanair…

  9. Phew I’m steaming and it’s not the weather – what a bunch of illogical crooks.
    On the one hand Greece is instructed to INCREASE the taxes of those least able to afford it and on the other side of this crazy economic system we get weasels insulting Greek people and its government telling us to ‘pay up’ and THEN demanding reductions in their tax !!!!!

    O’Leary should go to the EU (or Germany) and demand a hand out


    Michael Kevin O’Leary is an Irish businessman & chief executive officer of Irish airline Ryanair.
    O’Leary is well know for having a big mouth & making comments which he later retracts. he is extravigantly outspoken in public & often resorts to personal attacks & foul language.
    There is also a 7.9 million euro fraud claim against motor mouth O’Leary.

  11. motor mouth o’leary wnem in his early twenties rented a shop in dublin in which he employed his brother and sister one christmas season he told his staff he wanted to open on christmas day of course they said no way. he had bought in a large consignment of batteries suitable for toys [it was around the time when those sort of toys were hughly popular] michael opened the shop and sold his stock out before lunchtime at TWICE the normal price at this early stage he was a predetor where money is cocerned