air safety

Dec 8, 2012

Ryanair spat with Aviation Herald continues

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.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

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.

Ryanair CEO at public press conference, Milan, 2010


(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)


Leave a comment

3 thoughts on “Ryanair spat with Aviation Herald continues

  1. comet

    Distance by road from Bratislava airport to the centre of Vienna is 74 kilometres, via the most direct road route.

    Distance by road from Sydney CBD to the proposed airport site at Badgery’s Creek is 64 kilometres. Not that much different.

    Sydney’s proposed Wilton airport site is 84 kilometres from the CBD, much further away than Bratislava to Vienna.

    I guess Sydney’s unrestricted urban sprawl engulfs a massive area that would otherwise be another separate city. Vienna, and most European cities, are nice and compact.

    Full marks to the non-mainstream press for telling us what’s really going on in aviation (as always).

  2. Rufus

    “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”

    Are you serious?

    FRA (the real one, not Hahn) is perfectly located for the Rhein-Main region (several million people) and a €25-30 taxi ride (€4 and 15 minutes by train) from the city.

    As someone who flies through there a lot, dare I say that it must be among the best located and most functional airports of any major city. ATC and weather related delays are extremely rare, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been off a long-haul flight in FRA, through immigration and baggage claim, and into the city in under an hour from the wheels hitting the tarmac. For transfers, unless you have to schlep down to Gate A42 (a long walk, I give you that), it’s still very functional.

    Give me that over Hahn (1 3/4 hours from Frankfurt on a bus, convenient to nothing except Kaiserslautern and Rammstein Air Base and even in a different state to Frankfurt proper) any day.

  3. Ben Sandilands


    I think we are in furious agreement. Almost. I was referring to those many millions of people for whom Hahn is closer to them than Frankfurt’s main airport. Ryanair’s fortunes have largely been built on offering non-stop time saving connections between ‘lesser’ but nevertheless populous centres that have been neglected by the legacy carriers and their insistence that everyone pass to everywhere through their portal of choice. And usually not only for a trip taking far longer than on some of their competitors, but at a much higher fare for a truly miserably uncomfortable experience compared to most of my Australian readers on Qantas or Virgin Australia.

    As far as FRA is concerned yes I am serious. I always end up at one extremity of the airport, with a flight gate at the other end, which turns out to be a bus, that then drives three times around the airport seeking the right jet, which then taxis twice around the airport imitating driving to the intended city, and then takes off for an incredibly but mercifully short flight in a noxious tube called a CRJ 700.

    Yes, we are spoiled down here, and Yes, the real world is coming to get us, even on full service carriers, and Yes, I am at times somewhat prone to satire but my travel experiences in Europe began when there was still first class on the Paris metro, and Lufthansa served sparking wine and canapes on short flight inside West Germany in 737-100s. Sigh!

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details