Over at the bear pit that is Maily Telegraph blogland, MEP and occasional Tory Dan, Dan the Oratory Man has seen the video of a presentation by Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, the Millwall of air carriers (everybody hates us and we don’t care). Dan has taken all the bits he likes, while failing to notice that O’Leary has characteristically played fast and loose with the facts when making his pitch.
The man from Ryanair is trying hard to polish his turd, and by keeping going and not letting his audience think for a moment, he almost succeeds. For starters, the idea that the EU stands in the way of outfits like Ryanair is ridiculous: until the EU opened up its skies in 1992, the carrier was losing money. It was this liberalisation, together with the adoption of the Southwest Airlines business model, that changed things.
And that is why, in answer to Hannan, O’Leary supported the Yes campaign in the most recent Irish referendum: despite all the bluster of the video, he knows that without the Open Skies ruling, he wouldn’t be in business. Moreover, there is a similar loss of memory when it comes to those national carriers he rails against, and in particular the idea of state aid.
The EU has been almost zealous in its seeking out of state aid for air carriers which it deems improper. Since the decision over Greece and Olympic Airways, there has been not only an investigation into aid for Italian carrier Alitalia, but also pursuit of possible aid to low cost carriers via Government owned airports such as Hahn (which is not near Frankfurt am Main).
But this last has of course impacted Ryanair, so O’Leary rails against the EU when it affects his bottom line directly, while ignoring denials of subsidy to full service airlines whose struggles within the deregulated marketplace have undermined their profitability. This, though, introduces shades of grey into the otherwise approved version of Hannan.
So he discards those inconvenient facts and instead turns the story of Ryanair and its CEO into a modern day David and Goliath tale, with O’Leary pitted against the EU. This is complete drivel, although the level of routine dishonesty on display should not disappoint Hannan watchers: we have been here before. But his commenters have lapped it up.
So that’s all right, then.