Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has apologised for making a lewd joke about "making love" to the Queen.
Mr O'Leary made the gaffe while speaking to UK MPs and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a British-Irish Assembly in Dublin ahead of Irish President Michael D Higgins' visit to England.
The outspoken Ryanair chief began his speech saying: "Addressing such an august body as this reminds me much of making love to the Queen of England – you know it is a great honour, you're just not sure how much pleasure it is going to be."
Conservative MP for Romford Andrew Rosindell was appalled by his "inappropriate" remark and asked Mr O'Leary to withdraw the comments.
In response, the 53-year old businessman said he "would happily apologise" and insisted he did not mean to convey "any discourtesy" to the Queen.
He added: "I happily apologise for my opening remarks. It is always hard to judge the room. It normally is a joke that works quite well and I thought it might work well here."
Mr O'Leary has vowed to clean up his act after admitting Ryanair has an image problem that is taking a toll on the company's reputation.
The Irish businessman himself is known for his brash sense of humour, describing customers who forget to print their own boarding passes as “idiots” and calling overweight passengers “fat bastards on board”.
A recent Which? survey found that the airline was distinguished by its “rude and unpleasant” staff and an “aggressive and hostile” attitude towards customers, and ranked it at the bottom of 100 UK brands in terms of customer service.
Ryanair has reduced its controversial baggage fee and revamped its website in a bid to win back disenchanted travellers and cement its position against rival easyJet.Reuse content