Airline boss criticises 'lazy frogs' over France hold-up

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The Independent Online

A UK low-cost airline chief branded the French "lazy frogs" today after one of his planes was delayed flying back to Britain by protesting French students.

Philip Meeson, chief executive of, was incensed that French police allowed about 50 students to stage a runway sit-down that stopped around 100 passengers boarding a Boeing 737 at Chambery airport in the French Alps last night.

Eventually the plane was able to take off for Leeds Bradford airport, where it arrived 90 minutes late.

On his airline's website, Mr Meeson had complained last week about a strike by French air traffic controllers and called for "lazy frogs to get back to work".

Today he repeated the "lazy frogs" comment and said he was annoyed that French police had done nothing to stop the Chambery runway protest which also forced to divert a flight from Manchester to the French town of Grenoble as it was unable to land at Chambery.

In his website attack on French air traffic controllers last week, Mr Meeson said: "After a token stoppage, why can't you just sort the matter out amicably without bringing thousands of people around the world (who, I would like to add give your country huge economic wealth) into the argument?

"You choose to do the job you do and it's appalling that you are taking advantage of your dominant position by neglecting the responsibility you have to your customers ... yes that's right, holidaymakers pay your wages.

"Whilst France is undeniably a beautiful country (with equally good food and beer I hasten to add) we are appalled and quite frankly tired of the air traffic controllers' old fashioned attitude to dealing with any issues they may have.

"In short we urge the controllers to get back to work or get another job."