You Live and You Learn: Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive, Ryanair

Article excerpt

I make mistakes almost on a daily basis. Getting a job in the airline industry would be one; qualifying as an accountant would be another. Failing to be good enough to play for Man City is probably the greatest.

I'm paid about 20 times more than the average employee and I think that gap should be wider. I probably work 50 times harder. I was paid EUR1.2m last year for carrying 80 million passengers. Aer Lingus's boss (Christoph Mueller) got EUR1.3m for carrying nine million passengers. I think I'm the most underpaid and underappreciated airline boss in Europe.

We're bidding again for Aer Lingus. In the six years Ryanair has had a 30% stake, Aer Lingus has lost EUR90m and the share price slobs along at 60 cents. We can run it better, but that's not setting the bar very high.

Recently a customer turned up at Alicante with no boarding passes for her family. She was fined EUR60 for each reissue. So she gets on 'the Twitter' to complain. Emboldened by the rising tide of support, Mrs McLeod asks for compensation, to which we replied politely but firmly, thank you, Mrs McLeod, but it was your fuck-up. …