Ryanair launch new self-publicity drive: a pound for a poo



I'll get the puns out the way early: Michael O'Leary talks a lot of crap. Ha ha! This time he's floated the idea of charging passengers one pound to use the loo. Cue outrage, headlines, and more publicity for the airline. So let's ignore his latest outburst and laugh at his pre-tax profits for quarter four 2008.

Ryanair lost £92 million, because they gambled on the price of fuel and lost, fairly spectactularly. Airlines try to smoothe out fluctuating oil prices by hedging: setting a price for fuel for the next few months instead of buying at whatever the daily price is. While oil prices were rising Ryanair locked in their fuel at $124 a barrel; it then crashed to $33 / barrel.

To make things worse O'Leary refused to hedge in the months before the price hikes, so he was paying up to $147 a barrel while other airlines had locked in significantly lower prices and whacked on fuel surcharges. Hence last year's losses and O'Leary's desperate need to remind people Ryanair exists by making outrageous comments that get everyone writing pointless blogs criticising their policies.