O'Leary praises controversial Ryanair "immigrants" tweet

Suggests social media teamwill get a pay rise if they continue in that fashion...

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has refused to apologise for offence caused by an "immigrants fly Aer Lingus" tweet that the airline sent out yesterday.

He went as far as saying that he will probably give his social media team a raise for their efforts to make light of the fact that two Aer Lingus staff are up in court today, charged with immigration offences.

O'Leary said:

"I didn't think they were particularly funny last night when they went out, but I must say I am highly enthused by the reaction and response they have got.

"If we can upset that many snowflakes through Twitter and on social media as well as entertain probably an equal number of somewhat less snowflakey people, I intend to give our social media team a 'well done' note and probably a pay rise."

Ryanair's official statement simply read:

"While everyone loves our low fares, our social media posts may not cater to all tastes."

There was outcry following the tweet, with Irish journalist Dean Van Nguyen leading the charge, stating:

"My family didn't come to Ireland in a box, Ryanair. Make no mistake: Tarring them as underhanded offends me."

On the issue of smuggling, O'Leary said that no one at Ryanair has been involved. He called it a "storm in a teacup" and praised Dublin Airport security.

"I can be absolutely certain that nobody in Ryanair would be involved in something similar," he said. "Firstly, because we don't have a lot of catering. Secondly, we have no catering trucks. Thirdly, you can't fit in the catering bars onboard a Ryanair aircraft.

"I thought of one of the others witticisms that appeared on Twitter this morning: 'Ryanair, we wouldn't be engaged in people-smuggling, we'd enslave them when they got here to Dublin Airport!'"

Looking at the broader business, the company announced today that it expects passenger numbers to fall by 3% in 2017. 

Despite continuing growth elsewhere, it blames the home market decline on rising daa costs and the fact that other EU airports are cutting prices.

Launching its winter 2017 schedule, two new Dublin routes were announced – to Tours in France and Valencia in Spain.