Michael O'Leary, pensive: PR photo

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has again turned a company announcement into a world wide media event, this time by described the 787 grounding as ‘regulatory crap’ while confirming an order for 175 current model 737-800s.

Why is this being reported here, in Australian, as far from O’Leary and his low fare high fee carrier as geographically possible?

Well, we can confirm that Jeremy Clarkson, the similarly ‘outrageously’ outspoken Top Gear host, was not reported doing anything anywhere at the same time O’Leary was speaking in New York, which adds to the evidence that Clarkson and O’Leary are either the same person, or closely related.

Jeremy Clarkson on BBC TV suggesting striking airport workers be shot in front of their families

OK, maybe not. O’Leary has the same magnetic attraction to the media as Joh Bjelke Petersen had when he was Queensland premier.  You only had to roll up, roll tapes, and seek a response to an everyday topic, and the result was a story guaranteed to make headlines, and cause widespread offense or controversy.

In recent months O’Leary has lashed out at seat belts in aircraft, since we are all going to die in a crash, and excoriated the plane makers, Boeing included, for not giving away their jets for free (or very cheaply)  or at least recertifying them for standing room passengers, and blasted passengers charged around $100 for turning up for his flights without a printed boarding pass as stupid.

Clarkson, or O'Leary, engaged in sensitive social media commentary

But, O’Leary is not just clever, and media savvy, but pertinent. His airline makes a fortune out of doing things which the ‘dinosaur’ carriers like British Airways, Air France KLM and Lufthansa don’t do very well at all, which is connecting millions of Europeans with cheap, non-stop, no-frills flights that are in most cases, a fraction of the cost and time taken on the legacy carriers that insist on dragging everyone through hell hubs. Like Heathrow, or Frankfurt,  in particular.

And this morning’s interview, which you need to watch to hear words that some reports are not putting up in text, O’Leary also says totally sane things about the Cyprus banking crisis, from where Ryanair is turning away passengers carrying suitcases full of Euros as they try to flee with their savings.

He is totally off the page when it comes to the 787 issues, but he does know how to run a very useful, yet totally unlovable airline.  And he could be Jeremy Clarkson.

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