We've been quick to criticise Ryanair on a number of fronts but, you have to give credit where it is due. Kudos to the airline for offering one of its planes to take home some of the stranded passengers after the collapse of XL Leisure.
This has been seen by some commentators as merely a PR stunt but, lets be honest, even if it is fair play to the company. Ryanair is no shrinking violet and isn't slow to blow its own trumpet, as you can see below, but it is good to see that there is still some common decency in corporate Ireland. The company probably had the plane lying around doing nothing as it has been contracting its routes somewhat of late, but this is beside the point, it didn't have to offer to lift a finger to help XL's misfortunate passengers, but it still did so.
From Ryanair's website: "Ryanair, Europe’s leading low fares airline, today (12th September 2008), in response to their request, offered the CAA the use of one of its aircraft for the next two weeks in order to secure the return of stranded holidaymakers abandoned by the closure of bankrupt airline XL Airways. Ryanair is using one of its spare 737-800 aircraft to help the authorities in the UK and Ireland provide services for outgoing and returning passengers who have booked with the now defunct airline.
Commenting on the collapse of yet another bankrupt airline, Michael Cawley, Ryanair’s Deputy Chief Executive, said, in typical 'sit on the fence' Ryanair fashion:
“This is proof positive that passengers should not book their holidays with flaky, financially stretched airlines such as XL. Passengers should only book reservations with financially strong airlines such as Ryanair whom they know will be here for the long term. We are pleased to be able to rescue these passengers and facilitate the CAA in their efforts to repatriate them. We strongly advise passengers to be more discerning when they book their holidays and look first at the financial position of the airline with which they book.”
We did start off on a positive note on this blog but it is still difficult to ignore BA CEO, Willie Walsh's statement that, on top of the 30 airlines that have already gone belly up this year he expects 'up to 30 more airlines will go bankrupt before Christmas.' This is allied to previous statements that the 'era of cheap travel is coming to an end' (see our blog on same previously). It appears that the era of choice in the travel industry is also rapidly grinding to a halt if Mr. Walsh is to be believed, and he's in a better position to judge than most to be honest.