EasyJet founder wins Ryanair libel payout

EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou accepted undisclosed libel damages today over Ryanair advertisements which accused him of lying.

Sir Stelios brought proceedings in London's High Court over the adverts which appeared in The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and on Ryanair's website in January and February.



The adverts concerned the flight on-time statistics of easyJet plc, which had not been published on the airline's website for 37 weeks.



They featured a picture of Sir Stelios distorted so that his nose was elongated in the style of Pinocchio and referred to him as "easyJet's - Mr Late Again".



They called on Sir Stelios to "stop hiding the truth" about easyJet's flight delays and resume publishing details of its on-time performance.



Sir Stelios's solicitor, Chris Scott, told Mr Justice Eady that Ryanair and chief executive Michael O'Leary had made a complete offer to settle the claim and fully accepted that Sir Stelios did not lie about the matter.



They had unreservedly apologised and agreed to pay him damages and his legal costs.













Mr Scott said that Sir Stelios, who was not in court, wrote to the defendants asking them to withdraw the advertisements and apologise.



But they suggested instead that Sir Stelios should resolve the dispute by a sumo wrestling contest or by a race around Trafalgar Square, issued further advertisements calling him a "chicken" and brought further publicity to their allegations.



Mr Scott said the publication and ensuing publicity caused Sir Stelios significant distress and embarrassment, and he issued proceedings to vindicate his reputation.



Until this month, the defendants robustly defended the proceedings, but now accepted that the adverts should not have been published referring to Sir Stelios, who was a non-executive director at the time.



Mr Scott said: "Both Michael O'Leary and Ryanair accept that Sir Stelios is not in any way responsible for easyJet's management's continuing failure to publish weekly details of their on-time stats.



"They accept that Sir Stelios did not lie about the matter.



"With that vindication achieved, the claimant is happy to accept that matters are at an end."











In a statement, Sir Stelios said: "This was an unpleasant personal attack on me by a large public company, made worse by the way O'Leary responded to the legal complaints.



"I am pleased the law provides protection to individuals like me from unpleasant attacks on reputations from large companies like Ryanair."



His representatives said that the sum offered was £50,100, which Sir Stelios had accepted and would donate to his philanthropic foundation.



It would be used for the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK 2010, which is run in partnership with Leonard Cheshire, the disability charity.



Ryanair's Michael O'Leary said: "We are happy to apologise to Stelios for including his photograph and referring to him personally in the advert about easyJet's missing weekly punctuality stats.



"And since he was not responsible for easyJet's decision to stop publishing these on-time statistics, I think it is only fair and reasonable that we say 'sorry' and pay him damages and his legal costs, rather than waste court time on this issue."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Ashdown Group: .NET Developer : ASP.NET , C# , MVC , web development

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits - see advert: Ashdown Group: .N...

Guru Careers: 3D Package Designer / 3D Designer

£25 - 30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an exceptional 3D Package Designer / 3...

Guru Careers: Interior Designer

£Competitive: Guru Careers: We are seeking a strong Middleweight / Senior Inte...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss