Business Irish

Monday 19 August 2019

Ryanair's O'Leary 'shocked' by pilot group email

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary Photo: Bloomberg
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary Photo: Bloomberg

Tim Healy

RYANAIR CEO Michael O'Leary has told a High Court jury he was "surprised and shocked" by an email issued in 2013 by a pilots' group which the airline claims falsely and maliciously said the company had misled investors.

Mr O'Leary said the email issued by the Ryanair Pilots Group (RPG), which he described as "a group of non-Ryanair pilots", had been an attempt to create division between management and its pilots.

He also denied the Ryanair employee committee structure, which negotiates pay and conditions at different airports around Europe, had not, in 2013, been representative of the airlines pilots because it did not include the majority who were not directly employed.

Mr O'Leary was giving evidence on the third day of his company's defamation action against RPG founders Evert Van Zwol, John Goss and Ted Murphy, claiming their email of September 12, 2013, to 2,289 pilots was untrue and defamatory.

The email was headed 'Pilot Update: what the markets are saying about Ryanair', and stated the airline gave positive indications to investors the previous June which encouraged a share price increase, followed up by a sell-off of shares by airline management.

This meant, Ryanair says, by innuendo or insinuation, that the airline misled investors, knowingly facilitated insider dealing, was guilty of market manipulation and had conspired with management to abuse the markets.

The defendants deny defamation and say the words do not mean what Ryanair says.

Mr O'Leary said Ryanair's reputation in the marketplace is very important to the company and it has always been policy to be truthful and transparent with investors. The case continues.

Irish Independent

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