****** i started this at the weekend, got sidetracked (well fell asleep, because i started to write it far too late), but thought i would finish it off, it has to be said a little of the rant force i did have for this has dissipated. oh well ****
you have to admire michael o’leary and ryanair, they have been part of the reason why air travel has been democratized allowing everyone the opportunity to see the world. in the 20 years of its existence it has gone from 5000 passengers to close on 30 million passengers a year.
they also have a fierce reputation for not caring too much about customer care, and being less than speedy in paying compensation to passengers who have suffered at the hands of the airline. which is fair enough, you are getting a no frills service that when it works provides the traveller a cheap flight allowing them to enjoy more on their holiday.
but it does seem a bit rich that a company that guards against paying compensation is one of the first to rush to demand that the government pay compensation to them.
and why does it want to sue the government?
because of what it sees as being a farcical handling of the recent foiled, alleged, terrorist plan to blow up 10 planes in mid-flight.
this lead to rather tight security at airports and this lead to delays.
now let’s, for the sake of argument, lay to one side the reasons why planes operating out of britain are potential targets. let’s also lay to one side the conspiracy stories that this "foiled plot" was no more than tony blair spin to take the pressure off of his ailing premiership.
lets for the sake of argument say it was a legitimate threat that the security forces scuppered, but thought that there might be a chance of a further threat.
so gentle reader do you say "hey ho lets go, lets fly the skies regardless of the possibility that we might end as a big blazing ball of fire?" or do you say "mmm we had better make sure that it is safe to fly and that no rascally passenger is trying to smuggle some explosives on board the plane?"
it seems if you are michael o’leary you continue your company policy of not really caring for the passenger and you want to fly regardless.
it does appear that baa plc (apparently it doesn't mean british airports authority but is actually what the company is called "baa", smart move...) was not adequately prepared for such an emergency. but lets be honest here - who would be?
(mind you the baa site does say this "provide a healthy and safe working environment by giving safety and security the highest priority at all times. we will systematically assess and manage our risks through audited best practice management systems." ooops)
perhaps the crack down went on longer than it should have done, though i suspect everyone would rather be safe than sorry.
now both ryanair and baa are private companies (according to wikipedia baa had a market capitalisation of £6.6 billion in 2005, while ryanair has net profits in the 200 million euro plus region). but for ryanair it is the government’s responsibility to oversee and pay for security, even though they would be among the first to cry foul if the government stepped in and tried to regulate the industry.
an argument could be made that as the state raises taxes for this reason they should step in and foot the bills, but we all know that corporations will go out of their way not to pay as much tax as they should. so maybe, as it is for you and me dear reader when it comes to protecting our houses, it should be the full responsibility of the airports and the airlines to make sure that their passengers are safe and secure.
as i said at the start you have to admire ryanair - they want all the profit, none of the responsibility. they want the government to protect them, but they do not want the government involved in how the industry works.
additionally we all know that if a terrorist attack is successful the finger of blame from companies such as ryanair will be pointed at the government for not er... doing enough.
sadly it is a response so typical of business.