Is it time for Michael O’Leary to step down?

Hello community!

I thought I’d make a discussion topic today to hopefully get the community talking about this particular problem facing one of the worlds biggest airlines. Yes, Ryanair!

If you’ve been keeping up with the news recently enough you’ll know Ryanair management have had a few rough months. And it looks like it’s only getting worse. Yes, I’m talking about pilot strikes. The biggest problem facing Ryanair is relations with their crew. The people on the frontline getting people from A to B and beyond.

As of today (9th August) Ryanair Pilots in Germany and the Netherlands will be striking on Friday 10th August. The work stoppage will last 24 hours. Out of the 2,400 European flights operated by Ryanair on Friday, 400 of them will be cancelled stirring up chaos among passengers. All the passengers affected are expected to get a full refund or be accommodated on another flight. As you can imagine this is a huge blow to Ryanair and continues the bad summer Ryanair are already having. These strikes certainly aren’t doing Ryanair any favours. Ryanair released a statement yesterday slamming unions for their unpredictable behavior.

so what’s it all about?

  • Ryanair Pilots aren’t happy with how base transfer requests are being dealt with.

  • Ryanair Pilots are also requesting an annual leave system based on seniority.

  • Ryanair Pilots want their working terms to be on par with airlines like TUI.

Previous strikes

Ryanair Pilots have a long history of striking dating back years. Some recent strikes include, the July 20th and 24th strike in which Irish based Ryanair pilots held a strike and over 30 flights from Ireland to Europe were cancelled. Ryanair provoked the unions actions and said “if they wish to hold another unsuccessful strike again, then so be it.”

Is Ryanair leadership failing?

There’s no doubt Michael O’Leary the CEO of Ryanair has been a great asset to Ryanair and the airline has seen exponential growth during his time in charge. Michael O’Leary is known for his charismatic approach to running a low cost carrier, from suggesting charging for onboard toilets to having passengers stand during flights. However in light of these recent strikes and the very unhealthy relationship between Ryanair management and it’s crew on the frontline, is it time for Michael O’Leary to step down and have a more popular candidate with Ryanair Pilots who understands the problems Ryanair Pilots are facing on a regular basis and to implement change to transform Ryanair as we know it?

One thing is for sure, if Michael O’Leary and his team doesn’t make better progress with its pilots unions in Ireland, UK, Belgium, Germany, Portugal and Spain it’s safe to say it’s only going to get worse for Ryanair and cause further more severe disruption for its passengers.

Let me know what your thoughts are!


I think that Ryanair pilots should be able to choose their CEO, not a bunch of profit-oriented people in a boardroom. Before you know it, pilots are going to start leaving if it really worsens for them.


As much as I agree with, and see why pilots need and want those things. I don’t think they are what they came to Ryan Air for. They probably want to fly for BA, or Aer Lingus, or any other airline. But they aren’t looking for you right out of flight school. So you go to Ryan Air probably knowing that you are going to put up with some BS, and live with it because you look way more appealing to BA with a few hundred hours in a 737 under your belt…

So should pilot requests be met? Heack ya, but do these pilots need Ryan Air in the end? Probably… If you need something that badly I would think you would be able to put up with some corporate BS…

Just my opinion though, let me know what you think…


Ehh it varies for each individual. I followed this one Ryanair pilot online for a while and he said many times that he was completely happy with his job as a Captain and wasn’t looking to move to a different airline or base any time soon.


Even though those pilots are being treated horribly, I don’t think they would quit because of how competitive it is for pilots to get mainline carrier jobs in Europe.


I’d be happier if the CEO of IAG (British, Iberia, Level, Vueling etc…) stepped down first, followed by the CEO of American, then yeah sure

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Agree with you 100%.

It’s a stopgap for junior pilots to gain a captaincy qualification and a few thousand Boeing hours prior to moving onto a real “career airline”.


Is OneWorld really that bad? I have flown on Vueling and Iberia which I do hate flying with them. I normally fly SkyTeam though so I wouldn’t know.

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I’m a regular one world flyer, I have to say no they’re not. The problem with IAG is they don’t know the first thing about good service. Well apart from Aer Lingus 😏. Take the CEO of BA, I think he needs to go. They’ve taken a huge slide in terms of service and the product they’re selling. They simply can’t charge the prices they are for such an average product in reality.

If they want to sustain and be able to compete with the middle eastern carriers for example Qatar, Emirates and Etihad they NEED to change their premium products to make them on par. However that being said, BA do make a lot of money and have been doing well in recent years.

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Sorry but could you explain what IAG is? I kind of forgot. 😅👌

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International Airlines group. They’re the parent company of BA, Aer Lingus, Iberia and vueling.

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Ok thanks! I agree service has gone down. Like Iberia for example is absolute garbage every time I fly them. The seats aren’t good, leg room is satisfactory, cabin crew is usually unresponsive or rude, and everything costs something. It’s the same for Vueling, but Vueling is a budget airline which is why I understand the way they are. Mainly why I fly Air France to get to my destination and not Iberia.🤷‍♂️

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Back on the topic of Ryanair though, what are your thoughts?

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Never flown on them but I see them at almost every terminal in Europe. What do you think about them?

I think his job is safe for the time being. The airline continues to generate healthy returns while growing at a significant rate (

The reality is that the cost of the operational disruption from these strikes simply pales in comparison to the cost of giving into the demands. Will they need to monitor the situation to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand? Of course. But let’s not pretend he isn’t perhaps the most transparent CEO with regard to his priorities for the business. No one that works there, or chooses to fly Ryanair as a customer, can possibly say they were unaware he is maniacally focused on keeping costs low. There are obvious consequences to that approach, and they keep me away as a customer, but the model is working.

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Yeah, Ryanair aren’t as popular as they used to be. There are better budget airlines now like Jet2 and EasyJet

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Well sure, O`Leary is a controversial figure and my not seem very sympathetic, but he’s been in the company since the 1980s and he basically built up an airline from scratch and made it the biggest player for Europe. But that still doesn’t change the fact that he can be a huge d**k. I guess on the other hand he’s the best at what he’s doing, so I’d totally leave him in charge


The higher you rise the longer you fall my friend. If service continues (the way it is,), then there might not be such a bright light at the end of the pathway for him and his company.


Well at Ryanair service really doesn’t exist. It doesn’t fit into their model. What you pay for is a seat in an Airplane and that’s pretty much all you get-which I’m happy about as a customer since I don’t expect much more for a ticket that cheap when I’m flying Ryanair air. Honestly I don’t understand all the hate Ryanair is getting. Of course Lufthansa, BA etc are better but you pay so little money to get from A to B, and for that Ryanair is a fantastic airline.


Yes but even though Ryanair is a budget airline, crew are supposed to be nice right? I have heard that they can be the opposite on some flights.