Ryanair's combative chief executive Michael O'Leary is not a man prone to understatement. But when he was quoted as saying that cutting off his own hands was preferable to recognising trade unions, his point was clear. Keeping organised labour out of his aircraft has been a key feature of Ryanair's low-cost business model that, over the course of three-and-a-half decades, has powered its ascent from regional player with one 15-seat turboprop to Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers.
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