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Ryanair boss labels ministers dunces in furious row over passenger cap

Simon Calder’s Travel

The boss of Ryanair has launched an attack on the Irish Transport Minister, calling him a ‘dunce’.

Michael O’Leary blamed a passenger cap at Dublin Airport for blocking the airline’s growth and

Mr O’Leary said Eamon Ryan and his Green Party colleague Catherine Martin, the Minister for Tourism, are “dunces” who should leave politics if they do not act to remove the cap.

Ryanair said while it expects to grow traffic at Ireland’s regional airports in Cork, Shannon and Knock, it cannot expand in Dublin due to a limit of 32 million passengers per year.

The company said the cap limits its plan to grow its Irish traffic by 50% by 2030.

The airline’s chief executive told a press conference on Thursday that Mr Ryan had failed to deliver on the National Aviation Policy of enhancing Ireland’s connectivity, fostering growth in aviation, and maximising the contribution of aviation to national development.

Mr O’Leary, one of Ireland’s wealthiest businessmen, posed for photos holding cut-outs of the two ministers wearing green dunce caps.

Asked if he is another rich businessman taking on an environmentally friendly agenda, Mr O’Leary said: “Nobody does more for climate change than Ryanair does.”

He said the airline is investing 20 billion euro (£17 billion) in aircraft which could carry 20% more passengers with 20% less fuel.

Mr Ryan has previously said the airline chief has become “personally abusive” in his comments.

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, at a media event in London

(Simon Calder)

Asked on Thursday if he feels the latest media stunt is abusive, Mr O’Leary said it is intended to be “humorous”.

He said: “I can’t imagine when I’ve ever been personally abusive. I’ve said he’s incompetent. I don’t think that’s personally abusive, it’s a statement of fact.

“I think calling him a dunce is fair, but if he’s that thin-skinned or that upset by personal abuse, I have two suggestions: One, do something useful and lift the cap. Or two, maybe politics isn’t for you, if you can’t handle the occasional barb from some loudmouth like me.”

Mr O’Leary said Ryanair will add 50 Boeing 737 aircraft this summer, open 80 new routes and grow overall traffic by more than 16 million to 200 million.

But he said none of the new traffic will be delivered at Dublin Airport due to the cap and will…

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