Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, challenged (11-Feb-2010) easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou to a “Chariots of Fire” race around London's Trafalgar Square to settle a growing dispute over Ryanair’s recent adverts that claim:
- easyJet is a “high fares” airline, since its average fare (EUR66) is over twice those of Ryanair (EUR32) and,
- easyJet is "hiding its poor on-time statistics", having not published results on its website for the last 40 weeks.
O’Leary has promised to stop calling easyJet a “high fares” airline or an “always late” airline if Stelios wins the race, but if Stelios loses, then easyJet will admit that it is just another “high fares” airline (by comparison with Ryanair) and will agree to resume publishing its weekly punctuality statistics.
Michael O’Leary: “I am currently in rigorous training and believe that my daily regime of 40 cigarettes, 24 beers and extended sessions on the couch watching TV, leaves me in perfect shape to beat Stelios in a 21st Century version of the “Chariots of Fire” race around Trafalgar Square…We believe this race will be a much better use of Stelios’ time rather than paying expensive lawyers to issue vacuous threats, when both Stelios and easyJet know they can’t compete with Ryanair’s prices and they can’t match our punctuality either... If Stelios is too tired to run, then I will offer him the alternative of a wheelbarrow race around Trafalgar Square, with the winner taking all. Win or lose, at least Stelios and easyJet will save a fortune on expensive lawyers' fees,” [more]