Over the last five days our headlines have covered, in great detail, the accusations and reactions coming from what is arguably the world’s most infamous airline: Ryanair.
The Irish low cost carrier rarely hits the headlines for the right reasons but even by its own standards, it’s been a bad week.
The unrelentingly no frills airline was condemned on Channel 4’s Dispatches programme for its fuel and safety policy as well its reported history of deleting black box recordings. Ryanair insists that its safety history is in line with the best carriers in Europe and has sacked a pilot who appeared on the programme just months before his own retirement after 25-years service.
The carrier has now launched legal proceedings against Channel 4/ Blakeway Productions, Associated Newspapers (MailOnline) and Mirror Group.
Those proceedings were formerly launched on 16 August and didn’t stop the Mail on Sunday reporting – on 18 August – that Ryanair is financially incentivising its staff to charge passengers for oversized or overweight baggage – something the carrier denies.
As the wheels of the Ryanair’s machine gear up for what looks like another hard week, it’s no wonder that the original job ad for the company’s head of communications was described as the worst job in PR. Even O’Leary himself described it as needing a “brave soul”.
However for a company that doesn’t spend millions on advertising, Ryanair does command far more newspaper inches than (what seems like) all the other carriers put together. To put that claim into financial perspective: Ryanair’s May profits were GBP477 million – that’s a 13% year-on-year rise. On top of this is the fact that the company sees more international passengers than any other airline in the world – that’s a statistic taken from the 81.5 million people it will carry this year.
Maybe it’s true what they say: there really is no such thing as bad publicity.