Helped from on high

03 October 2017 | Lloyd Hughes

Billy blogged about ‘Ryan-mare’ last week, where he looked at the airline’s recent disastrous PR following thousands of cancelled flights and hundreds of thousands of customers left in the lurch.

Michael O’Leary is usually at the heart of PR fire storms surrounding the firm, generally fanning the flames and embracing the heat, but this time he no doubt wished he wasn’t so central to its scorching temperature. Many of Ryanair’s pilots were adamant they would refuse to work for the airline should he stay at the helm after he claimed pilots were paid well for what was a very easy job.

The bad press was relentless for a week or two and it seemed like O’Leary might struggle to survive the ongoing fallout.

But then, like the proverbial bolt out of the blue (for the non-aviation savvy amongst us anyway), Monarch airlines collapsed.

I don’t know what black rites O’Leary has been performing, and if there hadn’t been rumours this time last year about Monarch’s demise then I’d be urging police to try and find evidence of goats’ heads, candles and pentagrams in O’Leary’s mansion.

Monarch’s ruin has been like manna from heaven for Ryanair.

Suddenly there’s a large number of pilots out of work and looking for a job. Step forward O’Leary to welcome them in to plug the supposed holiday shortfall.

Although, with Monarch flying Airbuses, and the Ryanair fleet being Boeing, it certainly wouldn’t be a straightforward switch. Pilots are also in high demand regardless amongst other airlines such as EasyJet and Wizz Air – hence why Ryanair has such a shortage in the first place.

If O’Leary can tempt some on board though, it certainly gives him better leverage in his pay dispute with his existing pool of pilots.

But even if Ryanair can’t sweep up some of Monarch’s leavings, it’s certainly a welcome distraction and a boost to know that it clearly isn’t the worst performing airline in the UK after all.