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Ryanair CEO O’Leary is attacked with cake by environmental activists

Ryanair CEO O’Leary is attacked with cake by environmental activists

“Welcome to Belgium,” one activist exclaims as she presses her cake into the company’s boss. At the time of the incident, Ryanair’s chairman wanted to demonstrate in a one-man protest against several strikes by air traffic controllers in the European Union.

Environmental activists “tortured” the head of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, in Brussels on Thursday, implying he attacked him with a donut. “Welcome to Belgium,” one of the activists, squeezing the cake, shouted at the head of the group, as shown in the images broadcast by the two Belgian broadcasters, LN24 and RTL Info. Another activist shouted “stop the pollution” as he slapped the cake on the 62-year-old businessman.

During the cake attack in front of the European Commission building in Brussels, O’Leary stood next to a cardboard figure depicting Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. He was about to organize a one-man protest against the many strikes of air traffic controllers across the European Union that affected Ryanair’s business.

O-Leary calmly reacts

He responded to the cake attack by laughing, wiping the whipped cream off his face, then asking a staff member to arrange for his suit to be cleaned. He later posted a picture of himself in a smudged state on online service X (formerly Twitter) and the following text: “Passengers are so satisfied” with Ryanair’s new connections “that they are celebrating with cake”.

O’Leary’s company is regularly criticized by unions for its human resources practices and the working conditions of its pilots. Pilots of the Belgian low-cost airline announced another strike on September 14-15. They demand better salaries and longer rest periods between flights. This is their fourth strike in two months.

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Ryanair is taking advantage of the growing desire to travel

The increased desire to travel makes O’Leary an optimist in principle. The low-cost airline’s manager said Thursday that he was very satisfied with the bookings for September and October. He also believes that a rebound in Asian business will help keep European ticket prices high next summer. O’Leary added that the airline is also seeing a “very strong uptick” in non-leisure travel in lower fare regions of central, eastern and southern Europe, which he attributes to stronger supply chains. However, he is concerned about the level of oil prices, but cannot say how this will affect the earnings outlook. (appa)