Ryanair gets outflanked by air safety blog the Aviation Herald, over its reporting of a serious incident involving one of its flights, and adverse comments made by readers.
Seen from afar, what are we to make of Ryanair, and its so far totally unsuccessful efforts to suppress publicly expressed questioning of its operational safety by readers of a posting in the Aviation Herald?
In the latest report by that site both sides of the story appear to be laid bare, with the Aviation Herald appearing to have outflanked the very large, and very successful, European low fare high fee carrier by publishing in full an email that Ryanair had previously claimed was unfairly edited.
This generosity of disclosure by Aviation Herald includes republishing the substance of the reader comments that were among the things Ryanair had objected to in the first place. Duh!
Ryanair also objects in its correspondence to Aviation Herald repeating things that the German Federal Aviation Safety Authority said about one of its flights during an aborted approach to Memmingen on 23 September.
One might fairly wonder whether Ryanair is trying to shoot the postman rather than the letter writer, although it appears so far only to have shot itself.
The context of the matter as far as Plane Talking is concerned is that Ryanair has, so far, an exemplary safety record in so far as never having crashed.
It is also deservedly successful with its business model, in that it connects a huge number of otherwise neglected but well populated city pairs in and outside the EU with the convenience of fast non-stop flights that take a fraction of the time required to fly through hubs with say Lufthansa or Air France or British Airways, and for a fraction of the fare those carriers often charge.
Even though it claims Bratislava is really Vienna, or that Frankfurt Hahn, is really Frankfurt. As it turns out, both Bratislava and Frankfurt Hahn, and other whimseys, like Carcassonne being Touslouse, belie their being either very interesting in their own right, or very close to interesting things, or providing literally millions of people with far more convenient airports than would be the case if they had to haul ass to the nightmare that is the main Frankfurt airport for example.
Ryanair is what could be thus seen as a very useful airline (provided you read all the fine print and avoid all the daft little money grabbing traps that you might otherwise fall for) run by a CEO, Michael O’Leary, who may have actually gone bonkers for real rather than pretend.
O’Leary’s various vulgarities and antics and outrageous comments are clearly intended to generate publicity for Ryanair, but when they involve insulting the customers an element of doubt as to his state of mind enters the frame.
In this context, since O’Leary is now opposed to seat belts on flights, the safety culture of Ryanair does become a legitimate cause for questioning by readers of the Aviation Herald. The man has become increasingly silly or inflammatory in his public appearance, and since these are press events to which the media is invited, and at which his words and actions, including pretending a model of a Ryanair jet is his dick, are recorded, the airline’s problem isn’t the media, it is in fact the actions and utterances of its CEO.
Ryanair’s solution to public safety concerns is to stop having serious incidents rather than attack the readers of a blog for expressing their fears, or its author, for reporting an investigation notification by a national aviation safety authority.