He does not embarrass easily. Any attendant bad publicity — and there has been plenty — has been regarded instead as an opportunity to emphasise that Ryanair would do whatever was required to keep its costs lower than those of its rivals, which it would then pass on to customers in lower fares. Ryanair works to many simple principles and one of them is that people are attracted by the lure of low fares no matter what else is going on. Make it cheap enough and they will book to travel.
Matt Cooper, P.I. (Matt Cooper, Private Eye)
Even terrorist attacks have been countered by seat sales. Ryanair is supposed to be a changed entity from the cheap but often nasty corporate beast that so irritated passengers. A midair pivot in approach in September received plenty of attention.
It worked well for the first four years or so, as passenger numbers increased very strongly and profits with them. But then the airline flew into unexpected turbulence, possibly because it was growing too fast. In September last year a self-inflicted mess of its pilot rosters meant that it had to cancel thousands of flights affecting over , customers, with all the attendant bad publicity. It made me realize that I needed to work that much harder to be ready to compete. Back again from southern Ontario, the former AAA hockey talent decided to give it a more serious go.
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Anxious to step into the ring from the outset, Cooper persevered through the initial training regimen, as longtime coach Gord Apolloni worked on the basics. Finally, in February, the Sudbury fighter would be turned loose, stepping into the ring for the first time for a pair of bouts at the Brampton Cup. I lost all my training and just went for it.
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It was more of a brawl than a boxing match. It worked — for about half a second.
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But I ended up getting the win, which was nice. Or the early morning kind of show either, which lets Virgin One in at the other end too, with its Ireland AM at 7am. Claire Byrne Live makes a brave run at it from You might think that RTE would have seen this nocturnal thing working way back on TV3, and done its own version, but there are deeper cultural issues at work here than mere TV "competition". There is a fine tradition to be upheld, of RTE not doing these late nights or early mornings. And I, for one, would not have it any other way. Yes, when we dream, we do not dream about the terribly unsocial hours that Matt and Ivan must endure, of another hard night trying to get a bit of action out of the denizens of Leinster House, before hitting the M50 again and home for a few hours' sleep until it all kicks off for them again on Today FM or Newstalk.
Indeed you'd get a bit weary just writing that down, when instead you could be dreaming of a far, far better life in RTE.
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And sometimes I think the only thing that keeps most of us going is the thought that a place such as RTE exists, unlike any other place in which we might find ourselves, in these hard times. Deep down, Matt and Ivan must know this too - their days are spent in offices not much more salubrious than the places in which the pirate radio stations used to operate, their nights are spent in rooms in an industrial estate.
Probably they savour the challenges of being out there busting their asses in the independent sector and all that, but you can get enough of the old challenges too. Certainly they may be happy that they have this late-night TV thing to themselves, that they have a clear run at it, that there are almost no circumstances in which RTE will respond with a similar programme because… well because it doesn't do that.
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