Imagine the scene. You’re a BA passenger, a bit cheesed off by the strike, but your flight is apparently operating. So you turn up at Gatwick only to find your BA flight flying in Ryanair colours.
Yep, Ryanair has been helping BA with capacity during their cabin crew strike, providing them with three aircraft which operated 24 flights a day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Never one to miss a quick snipe, O’Leary joked about how shocked the passengers would be to see their aircraft and hear the on-time bugle while flying BA.
But on a serious note, he voiced whole-hearted support for Willie Walsh’s tough stance during BA’s labour dispute.
“It doesn’t happen often, but this time I entirely support Willie. It is insane for cabin crew to strike during a time of recession. The strike is stupid and insensitive and the staff should get back to work.”
O’Leary is aiming to help BA out with between three and five aircraft during the next tranche of strike action, which is scheduled to start on Saturday, although he adds: “I hope it [the strike] doesn’t go ahead.”
When asked whether he was simply looking to cash in on the dispute, O’Leary countered: “Frankly, we’d get more money by refusing to charter the aircraft and carrying the passengers on our own services. I am very happy to help BA to deal with these unwanted and unjustified strikes.”
Apparently the Ryanair and BA bosses spoke briefly by phone yesterday.
“Willie thanked me for the aircraft and was seeing if he could charter some more for next weekend,” says O’Leary. ”I said that I thought BA was winning the strike – they had no passengers stranded at airports over the weekend. I think BA has managed it extraordinarily well. If I was Willie, I’d do exactly what he’s doing at the moment. It is vital to the future of BA for them to win this dispute.”