Business Irish

Monday 15 September 2014

‘I’ve always been warm and cuddly’ – Michael O’Leary on Ryanair’s ‘nicer’ image

Published 19/04/2014 | 09:05

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Michael O'Leary
Michael O'Leary

RYANAIR boss Michael O’Leary has revealed he was ‘misunderstood’ prior to the airline’s image revamp.

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The Irish company has introduced sweeping changes in recent months in an attempt to soften its image.

Speaking on RTE’s Country Wide on Radio One, the airline boss said he was misunderstood in the past.

“I’ve always been warm and cuddly - just a little bit misunderstood”, he said.

He explained that the company decided that some policies were too harsh, and they were responding to customer demands by evolving.

“We decided over the last two years that the image of the company needed to evolve.

“Some of our policies were overly harsh and we’re softening those.

“We’re also responding to customer feedback by introducing allocated seating, free second carryon bag and a better website.”

He also spoke on the mystery of Malaysian airlines flight MH370 – saying he believes a depressurisation incident was responsible.

“It’s impossible to know, and speculation doesn’t really help. It has all the hallmarks of a depressurisation incident.

“The crew and I hope the passengers passed out. The plane flew for a length of time until I assume it ran out of fuel.”

He said the mystery is why the plane’s transponder was switched off – and that Ryanair constantly monitors the location of all its planes from its operation centre.

He also praised the government for scraping the travel tax – adding that he believes Ireland is set for a tourism boom.

“Tourism will have a boom year, much of the credit for that goes to Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan for scraping the travel tax.

“We’ve become very competitive, if you look in recent years at the downward pressure on pricing. Those (hotels) that have survived will do very well in the next few years.”

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