Cawley’s ‘last-ever’ interview and song; ‘nice’ Ryanair gives €10,000 to anna.aero partner charity

The anna.aero “New, Nicer Ryanair Song” is inspired by what Michael Cawley describes as the “cuddly-soft” customer-focus. Vocals by Amy Hanna, accompanied by Ian Hill and Paul Hogan. Words and Music by Hill-Hogan. Movie by Richard Jende.

Dublin December 11 2013: Ryanair donates €10,000 from on-board scratch card sales to anna.aero’s partner charity, Anthony Nolan – the bone marrow transplant charity which arranged two transplants for Brontë, the daughter of anna.aero publisher Paul Hogan. “Bron”, a leukaemia sufferer, tragically passed away in March 2011 aged 12. Nicky Read, Head of Corporate Partnerships, Antony Nolan, receives the cheque from Michael Cawley, Ryanair’s COO and Deputy CEO.

“We don’t actually like it when other airlines go out of business”

anna.aero: “Вы говорите по-русски?”

Cawley: “Er; what??”

anna.aero: “Do you speak Russian?”

Cawley: “Нет!” (Nyet/no)

anna.aero: “So have you ever been to Moscow?”

Cawley: “Nyet again, although I remember singing ‘Moscow girls make me sing and shout’ – that was ages ago.”

anna.aero:  “So, besides the girls, have you got a favourite Moscow airport?”

Cawley: “Lovely Vnukovo – I could be wrong, but I believe it offers the least hassle and the lowest cost.”

anna.aero: “Surely Dublin-Moscow offers a different demand opportunity than London-Moscow or other points with low-cost services, such as Wizz at Budapest and Pegasus at Istanbul?”

Cawley: “That’s true, but we could say that about a great deal many routes Ryanair operates, although there’s a history of a lot of Irish people working in Moscow over the last 25 years. But while we applied for the Dublin-Moscow rights, it does not mean we are about to launch it. There’s work we’d have to do in order to ever get Moscow going. Ask me about something else.”

anna.aero: “OK. Are you going to talk to other airlines about more formal feed agreements, like you offered to Alitalia in Rome?”

Cawley: “Look, we are doing feed and we have done feed for years at loads of airports. At Rome there is a growing sense that Alitalia is about to fail and we wouldn’t want that because that would hit our feed. And, frankly,  we don’t actually like it when other airlines go out of business – it creates a situation where everyone thinks there is loads of opportunity and we end up with too much supply – that’s exactly what happened in Budapest after Malév. Alitalia has some very good long haul routes like Tokyo, but they are bleeding themselves to death with the cost of their domestic feed while other airlines like Turkish, with 100 flights a week, are also sucking the goodness out of Alitalia. Air France isn’t going to rush to save them because they will get more out of Alitalia if they leave them to deteriorate. So we offered them a solution.”

anna.aero: “But that’s Alitalia. This exercise now means also directly taking on Vueling’s new base at Rome and Brussels Zaventem with your own totally overlapping new bases. Are your mainly going after Vueling?”

Cawley: “A bit. Remember we have taken on Vueling before – at Barcelona – and in fact there was probably a sense by them that they could move to capture Brussels and Rome while Ryanair was short of aircraft at a time when we have had to find aircraft for the new commitments at Stansted and Ireland. But we are really flexible, and we have found the capacity within our network.”

anna.aero: “So if you were an airport like Brussels Charleroi would you be worried that Ryanair would run down its services?”

Cawley: “Not really. Ryanair can run a dual airport strategy. But what we don’t want is another airline up the road – only Ryanair can truly exploit a market like Brussels to the maximum because of our low costs. And yes, at Brussels we can do a very good job at feeding the US carriers.”

Santa-Cawley (left) talks to anna.aero’s Paul Hogan after getting into his special “cuddly-soft” mode.

anna.aero: “So turning to other matters, how do you like the new nicer Ryanair. It’s not very macho is it?”

Cawley: “No it’s not! That’s why I’m leaving! [Although Cawley becomes a non-executive director after retiring in March.] At school I was always told not to use the word ‘nice’ – I prefer ‘cuddly’ or ‘soft’ – much better.”

anna.aero: “O-K, er, right, that clears that up then. So what about the on-board coffee? I had some on the way here this morning, I just don’t think it tastes very ‘nice’ – and I’m sorry to use the ‘n’-word.”

Cawley: “I never drink the coffee. Try the vegetable soup, it’s absolutely delicious, especially the tomato, although I suppose tomato isn’t a vegetable. Is it?”


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