Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary was smacked in the face with two cream pies as he stood outside the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on September 7, 2023.
Two female environmental activists tossed the pies while shouting, “Welcome in Belgium!” and “Stop the pollution from your f****** planes!”
O’Leary was in Brussels to announce Ryanair’s winter schedule and to deliver a petition to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The petition aimed to protect so-called ‘overflights’ in Europe, which are affected by EU rules preventing airlines from flying over countries when local air traffic control staff are on strike.
He was getting ready to pose for a picture with a life-size cardboard cutout of the Commission President before handing over a petition signed by 1.5 million Ryanair customers when the pie-throwers appeared. O’Leary joked that he had never had “such a warm welcome”.
“Unfortunately, they were environmentalists, and the cream was artificial. I invite the passengers to come to Ireland, where the cream is better,” he later added.
Ryanair’s social media also played along, suggesting that passengers were “so happy with our routes and petition that they’re celebrating with cake.”
“We’ve got tasty low fares!” the company wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).
Low-cost air carrier Ryanair introduced carbon offsetting programs in July 2021, giving passengers a way to offset their flight emissions through such schemes as the ‘Carbon Calculator’ and the ‘Partial Contribution’ option.
However, in January 2023, the low-cost air carrier had to revise its carbon offset scheme after the Netherlands Authorities for Consumers and Markets (ACM) found its claims regarding sustainability to be misleading.