O’Leary vs. O’Leary or: why Michael O’Leary secretly loves state aid

December 20, 2013

Michael O’Leary’s recent plea in the Telegraph calling for an end to market distortion in aviation is a request which is echoed by the ‘tiny number of Nimbys and environmentalists’, to which category my organization presumably falls into. 

If the state should no longer be responsible for determining where new airports and runways are built, then surely Mr O’Leary would agree that the state should no longer be responsible for the hundreds of millions of pounds of state aid and subsidies which are given to European airlines every year. As for the fate of British tourism, Mr O’Leary will be well aware that, partly as a result of his highly successful, but highly uncomfortable airline, Brits spend more money abroad than tourists bring into the country, resulting in a net loss for the UK economy. Similarly, his claim that British businesses urgently need new runways doesn’t add up – business travel by air has fallen 23% since 2000. All in all, it sounds as if Mr O’Leary would rather just like it if there were more runways for his low-cost planes, at someone else’s expense. Sounds a little bit like market distortion, Michael.

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