13/09/2012 Canary Islands/Spain/Ireland (BG) - Ryanair just can’t seem to stay out of the Spanish news lately, and of course, for all the wrong reasons.
Michael O’ Leary, chief executive of the Ryanair, has become so bewildered at the amount of negative press his airline is receiving that he has accused the Spanish government of orchestrating a campaign against his airline. The remarks follow a series of alleged safety incidents involving the company’s planes.
In a letter sent earlier this week to the Spanish minister for Public Works, Ana Pastor, Mr. O’ Leary called on her department to “take action against the leaking of false information” concerning Ryanair.
The letter made reference to an article published in Monday’s edition of the El Mundo newspaper which claimed the airline had been responsible for 1,201 security incidents in the last six months. Mr. O’ Leary insisted these figures were “false”.
On Monday, Ms Pastor warned that the Spanish government was planning to clamp down on sanctions imposed against airlines who fail to satisfy safety requirements. She also revealed plans to lobby European authorities for tougher measures to be taken against foreign airlines that fail to comply. Her comments were perceived to have been aimed at Ryanair, due to the Irish airlines involvement in several incidents in Spain during the summer.
Pastor added:”Low cost is fine, what we can’t have is low safety” as she cited the incidents of July 26th when three Ryanair aircraft requested emergency landings ahead of other planes as they approached Valencia airport due to fuel shortages. All three planes had been diverted from their scheduled destination of Madrid because of poor weather conditions.
The move comes just days after Ryanair boss Michael O´Leary publicly stated that Spain had 'no jurisdiction' over his planes because they are registered in Ireland.
In another incident that occurred last week, a Ryanair flight from Madrid to the Canary Islands was forced to make an emergency landing after losing cabin pressure. Oxygen masks were deployed and the jet was forced to return to Barajas Airport just one hour after take-off when the crew onboard noticed technical problems.
Several passengers on the flight complained of headaches and earaches upon leaving the plane and 16 people received treatment from medical staff.
The airline has apologized to the 160 passengers, who were subsequently put on a replacement flight before lunchtime. In the wake of the comments the European Commission suggested that any Spanish plans to clamp down on foreign airlines could be very difficult to implement.