Ryanair Showing Off Low Cost PR Vs Portugal Officials

International, inter-governmental and business communications especially, are so important for the economies of the EU and worldwide to emerge from recession. A recent apparent mis-communication in between low cost air carrier Ryanair, and the Turismo de Portugal would seem a perfect example of barriers to business.

Portugal Parliament

Adolfo Mesquita Nunes speaks – courtesy Parliamentary Group

In a statement to the media outlet Expresso, Protugal Secretary of State for Tourism, Adolfo Mesquita Nunes clarified an earlier position apparently understood by budget air giant Ryanaire to mean expansion at the Faro airport may not be in the cards. Mesuita Nunes comments on Ryanair’s proposal to help increase Winter tourism traffic to his country before National Federation of Associations of Business Angels (FNABA). Apparently a disconnect in between Ryanair and Tourism de Portugal occured, as the FNABA and the governmental agency had just bolstered an already extensive commitment to enhance Portugal travel. The Portugal government,  the financial sector, and individual investors have in place some €42 million toward these ends.

Last week an apparent spat in between Ryanair abd Turismo de Portugal ensued after Ryanair sent a condemning report on the Portugal tourism ministry to The Portugal News. This was a report in which Ryanair’s new head of communications, Robin Kiely, was reported to have lashed out cuttingly at Mesquita Nunes’ agency:

“Ryanair’s proposal for additional growth at Faro can bring new passengers, new jobs and millions of euro in tourism revenues to the Algarve during the winter, yet Turismo De Portugal does not appear to understand the importance of this plan.  It is surprising that an organisation whose brief is to promote tourism in the Algarve should ignore Europe’s largest carrier and Faro’s number one airline, particularly at a time when Portuguese unemployment stands at 18 percent….”

In defense of these criticisms Mesquita Nunes transparently admitted to having nixed Ryanair’s requested “terms” and not the overall synergies. From a PR perspective here though, the apparent “slash and burn” tactics employed by Europe’s biggest air carrier merit scrutiny.

What Ryanair may have to look forward to if they continue hacking off constituents - courtesy passenger Fabrizio Lonzini

What Ryanair can look forward to if they continue hacking off people – courtesy passenger Fabrizio Lonzini

Interestingly, one of the comments to this The Portugal New Online story is from someone named MO’Leary from Algarve who quotes from Oscar Wilde thusly; “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” Whether or not this is the CEO of Ryanair Michael O’Leary or not, playing schoolyard tattle tale on potential business partners to leverage what one wants is at best interesting, and at worst childish.

Finally, in another news report the same Robin Kiely sloughs off social media as a form or Ryanair communications on account of added costs for the airlines. Apparently, Ryanair has cut costs to the point they can no longer afford sentient forward strategies that actually can save money. New models for digital engagement such as those proposed by hospitality and tech marketing experts such as Brian Solis, and even our own founders, virtually ensure cost savings for what Solis calls a “designed experience” wherein SM plays several key roles.

Like the a la carte and “economical” airline features Ryanair has gleaned so much business from to date, one has to wonder when the airline may hit the veritable pavement when value bottoms out with cost? Maybe before this happens the airline can throttle up to some more democratic, and less cutthroat communications-negotiating tactics too? My editor is looking over my shoulder whispering; “Ask Mr. O’Leary about that as a Oscar Wilde mention?” 

Meanwhile, in defense of any PR’s position and execution, one has to factor in CEO sometimes practice their own variety of DIY PR too.

Oh my goodness, we just entered the schoolyard, but then neither Portugal nor Ryanair have a sheep in their news rooms.

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