Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary emerged unshaken after being hit by cream pies thrown by climate protestors.
He was struck in the face and back ahead of a media briefing in Brussels.
The Ryanair group chief executive was preparing to set to speak reporters about a petition he was presenting to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
Two protesters hit him with pies as he was setting up outside the European Union headquarters.
O’Leary responded by saying “well done” before wiping cream from his face and continuing with the planned press briefing.
The incident was captured by visual content provider EPA Images and posted on Twitter/X @EPA_Images.
Ryanair’s Twitter feed also published images and made light of the incident.
Warm welcome in Brussels today to celebrate RYR’s 7 new routes for Winter 23. Passengers so happy with our routes and petition that they’re celebrating with cake. We’ve got tasty low fares! pic.twitter.com/MpT6ssSX6a
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) September 7, 2023
Ryanair’s petition calling for the EU to change the law to protect flights has been signed by more than 1.5 million passengers.
O’Leary spoke to the media next to a cardboard cutout of Ursula von der Leyen.
He claimed the commission has refused to change the law to prevent disruption to flights when there are strikes at air traffic control.
The situation in France, which has been blighted by strikes by controllers since the turn of the year, has been or particular concern.
Short-haul flights leaving the UK are badly affected because officials in France use minimum service legislation to protect domestic departures and long-haul flights “overflying” the airspace.
The result has been mass cancellations of short-haul flights “overflying” — using French airspace but not landing in the country.
O’Leary was lobbying the EU with a petition calling for action to avoid disruption to flights.
The petition said: “Europe’s passengers are sick and tired of suffering unnecessary overflight cancellations during ATC strikes.
“The European Commission must now act upon the petition of more than 1.1 million EU citizens and insist that all states protect overflights during national ATC strikes as is already done in Greece, Italy and Spain.”
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