Of course, many would argue that this is not the job of a (once) successful businessman – rather it is to build businesses and look after the bottom line.
Perhaps this may explain the somewhat curious cry of solidarity from comrade Michael O’Leary, who sent a letter of support to the Quinn rally on Sunday. As another executive who has become virtually indistinguishable with the business he leads, the Ryanair chief executive is notoriously anti-union. Indeed Ryanair’s landmark case against Impact – which had huge implications for how companies that do not recognise trade unions handle industrial disputes – dates from around the time of the Quinn Cement Labour Court case. O’Leary, like the Seán Quinn of yore, is an extremely successful – and rich – businessman. That’s where the similarities end. While Michael O’Leary continues to lead an extremely successful company, Seán Quinn presided over one of the biggest corporate fiasco’s in Irish history.
Unfortunately that fiasco will be one for which the Irish State will be picking up the tab for many years to come.Airline deal no alliance of equals
The code-sharing agreement between Aer Lingus and Etihad is a useful fillip for Christophe Mueller as he fends off yet another unwanted approach from Michael O’Leary.
It will no doubt bring some extra passengers Aer Lingus’s way but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that this is no alliance of equals.
Etihad is the 800lb gorilla in this particular coupling and the arrangement is best seen in that light.
And what is important here is that Abu Dhabi-based Etihad is in a three-way fight with Dubai-based Emirates and Doha-based Qatar Airways.
All three petro dollar-backed entities are pursing the same business plan, more or less. They are investing heavily in aircraft they hope to fill through traffic being fed into their gulf-based network by other carriers.
The Aer Lingus code-sharing accord will be Etihad’s 36th such agreement, according to Bloomberg, giving it the edge over its Persian Gulf rivals when it comes to tie-ups abroad.
And Etihad shows no sign of slowing down, with talks under way with Paris-based Air France-KLM Group on forming a commercial alliance, according to the Franco-Dutch company’s boss, Jean-Cyril Spinetta.
Which – if any – of the Gulf carriers will emerge victorious is difficult to garner and much depends on the depth of their owners’ pockets.
But Aer Lingus has placed its bet.
Quote of the day
The ECB has been hinting, hinting, hinting, but now its the time to deliver
– Henk Potts, market strategist at Barclays Wealth, on speculation that the European Central Bank plans to intervene to stabilise the sovereign debt crisis
Convenience foods group Greencore publishes its interim management statement
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