Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary pied in the face on Brussels visit – POLITICO


Pie in the sky? More like pie in the face.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary had cream pies smashed into his face on Thursday as he stood outside the European Commission’s HQ in Brussels.

The low-cost airline chief was in Brussels to announce his firm’s winter schedule and to deliver a petition addressed to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to protect so-called overflights in Europe (EU rules prevent airlines from flying over countries when local air traffic control staff are on strike).

Standing next to a cardboard cutout of von der Leyen, O’Leary was struck by pies from two women. “Welcome in Belgium!” said one of them, later adding: “Stop the pollution of your fucking planes.”

It was not clear if the pie-throwers were part of a climate action group.

O’Leary laughed off the incident, saying he had never had “such a warm welcome.”

“Unfortunately, they were environmentalists and the cream was artificial. I invite the passengers to come to Ireland, where the cream is better,” he said.

Ryanair also joked about the “warm welcome” on its social media.

“Passengers so happy with our routes and petition that they’re celebrating with cake,” the company wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “We’ve got tasty low fares!”

Dissatisfaction from environmentalists is not the only thing casting a shadow over O’Leary’s trip to Belgium. Belgian pilots at Charleroi are planning to strike on September 14 and 15, for the fourth time in two months, to protest against low wages.

There are a lot of cream pies being thrown in Belgium at the moment. On Saturday, Georges-Louis Bouchez, head of the Francophone liberal MR party, was hit in the face with a pie during a book signing in Liège. Bouchez was not as calm as O’Leary and smeared some of the cream in the pie thrower’s face after he was restrained by bystanders.

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