Lyin' Air: Plane Mad versus O'Leary

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Last month the Irish group Plane Mad had a chance to see Michael O'Leary's own madness first hand. When confronted at his AGM by a topless protester O'Leary's insane ranting demonstrated an acute state of denial. Muddling up the science he claimed that he believed in climate change but not global warming. He said "There is no scientific evidence yet" and "there has been no increase in global temperatures for the last ten years".

Now we know that O'Leary didn't manage to finish his time in University but this stuff is taught at secondary school level. But he's in no way consistent: if he doesn't believe in global warming why does he boast about having the most efficient fleet or pretend that aviation accounts for 2% of CO2 emissions? Surely he shouldn't care about emissions if he thinks the Earth is not warming? Or maybe he's lying! Lying to protect his polluting business.

So how does the Irish political establishment treat someone who is clearly very stupid or very dishonest (or both)? Do they rein him in with tight regulation? Do they try to educate him or simply shun him? No, as usual our conservative government is completely in bed with business. This Irish climate criminal is treated with friendship and respect. The Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) attended his wedding. He receives 15 million Euro in direct subsidies for internal flights that he operates within Ireland.

In July he was in the Dail (Irish parliament) giving his opinions to the transport committee. Our politicians licked his ass and congratulated him on his business leadership. The chairman went as far as to say that it was always a pleasure to fly with Ryanair!

So, Plane Mad carried out an action at the ryanair AGM to expose O'Leary's lies. We hung a big "Lyin' Air" banner off the hotel where the AGM was taking place. Rob Mac confronted O'Leary directly about his dishonesty. And a spoof shareholder briefing was circulated that pushed the lies to their logical conclusion:

Dear Shareholder,

As I'm sure you are aware, a key threat to our revenue is the possibility that passengers would heed environmental concerns and fly less. We clearly need a strategy to avoid consumers becoming aware of the climate impact we have.

I want to take this opportunity to assure you that I will not let this eco-bollocks affect our profit, and to outline my strategy for dealing with it.

The tactics of denial employed by the tobacco industry proved successful for decades after the health impacts were proven. Exxon have successfully used the same tactics and many of the same personnel to deny the reality of climate change.

Currently very few passengers know that flying is the most carbon intensive way to travel. We need to direct attention away from the science by fostering a culture of doubt around the facts. The eco-loonies may attempt to cling to peer-reviewed science, but we don't need to be able to refute their facts, all we need is to spread enough misinformation for doubt to linger.

I have already been active in national newspapers and on radio questioning whether climate change is caused by carbon dioxide. In the letters pages of the Irish Times on July the 17th, I used the current inclement weather to suggest that the climate could not be warming. The liberal idiots who read the Irish Times will believe anything.

The International Aviation and Transport Association (IATA) have done commendable work suppressing information on the damage caused by aviation. There are certain concrete facts that we cannot afford to allow to become accepted. If they did so environmental awareness could become a ticking time bomb for the health of our profits. The following facts will be denied by me, like lying is going out of fashion.


  1. The reductions in emissions per passenger are meaningless due to our growth.
  2. Due to the additional pollutants released by airplanes and the altitude at which they are released the total warming effect of aviation emissions is 2.7 times greater than the warming effect of the carbon dioxide alone.
  3. The 2 per cent figure I always use for the share of carbon that aviation accounts for, conveniently ignores the whole story of other pollutants and recent growth.

Despite their sandal-wearing, muesli eating carry-on, these eco-loons have the potential to mess up our marketing. I'm just a lad from a farm in Mullingar, but I know how to put bums on seats. People want to fly, they want to fly cheaply and they don't want to have to deal with the guilt peddled by those eco fun-police. All we need to do is to make it seem like the science might not be solid and our money will keep rolling in.

I know that you are rational people who understand business. I hope that you can stand behind my blatant lies, as I am working to protect our profits.

The millions of passengers I carry around Europe on cheap flights may well be causing climate change but it's putting money in my pocket. I am making money today. It is not my business to care about tomorrow.

And who do these eco-loons think they are anyway, denting the bottom line of the company I've been tying my ego to for years? I lie very hard every day so my kids can be richer than their friends. Will I be sparing a thought for those who are now dying as a result of climate change? You must be eco-joking!

Screw the Bangladeshis.
Screw the next generation.
Deny climate change.
Fly Ryanair.

Yours sincerely,
M. O'Liary
Chief Executive

With someone like Michael O'Leary in our country is it any wonder that Plane Mad have formed to campaign against the aviation industry? And with a government that treats people like him with such respect is it any wonder that we are going to do it by taking action?!