Ryanair’s chief financial officer Neil Sorahan has blamed airports for the travel chaos, arguing they only had “one job to do.”
“The airports themselves, they had one job to do and that was to make sure they have sufficient handlers and security staff,” Sorahan told the BBC’s Today programme this morning.
“We managed to staff up for 73 additional aircrafts well in advance and it’s incumbent on the airports to get their planning better next year.”
The executive’s comments come as the EU aviation industry was swept by a wave of cancellations, delays and overall travel disruption.
The UK was hit particularly hard due to a combination of post-Covid pent-up demand and labour shortages.
Heathrow, Britain’s largest airport, was forced to put a daily cap for departing passengers of 100,000 while BA slashed its peak season schedule by 18 per cent compared with April forecasts.
According to Sorahan, the main reason behind the travel mayhem was air traffic disruption across Europe.
“You have to hold air navigation service providers and various governments to account in relation to not staffing up appropriately for that,” he added.
Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary on Friday took a jab against the UK Government, asking to implement post-Brexit immigration rules with more common sense, City A.M. reported.
“We have this bizarre situation at the moment that in the UK I can get visas to bring Moroccans to come in and work as cabin crew,” he said.
“But I can’t get visas for Portuguese or Italians or Slovakian youngsters. We just need a bit of more common sense and a practical approach to how we implement Brexit.”
Ryanair today posted a £145m first-quarter profit despite travel disruption and the blow dealt by the Ukrainian conflict.
Passenger numbers also rebounded, hitting 45.5m – 9 per cent ahead of pre-pandemic levels.
Nonetheless, the carrier declined to make predictions for the full year due to the “fragile” nature of the market.
“Given our later booking profile, the lack of visibility, volatile oil prices, potential Covid, geopolitical and supply chain risks, it is too soon to provide meaningful FY23 PAT guidance at this time,” said O’Leary.