O'Leary flicks a 'Victory' sign at sacked airport workers in SpainPA

Michael O'Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, has yet again caused controversy and offence - this time by gloating and mocking a group of airline workers who had just lost their jobs.

This week he arrived at Bilbao airport in Spain to publicise the launch of his airline's new Spanish routes - just weeks after Spanair, a low-cost competitor, went bust.

As O'Leary spoke of his airline's expansion, he was videoed signalling a victory sign to a group of former employees of Spanair.

The laid-off employees were protesting at the airport when O'Leary made a joke at their expense.

Speaking over the noise of the protesting workers, he said: "I'd like to thank all of our fans outside for helping us to promote the arrival of Ryanair in Bilbao today."

O'Leary flicks a 'Victory' sign at sacked airport workers in SpainPA

In typically ebullient form, he was also pictured posing for the cameras, kissing model Ryanair aeroplanes and grinning triumphantly.

As he left, tempers were clearly flared and he was escorted from the airport by local police.

According to pictures and reports in The Consumerist, several workers surrounded O'Leary, swore at him and gave him the middle finger.

See the video here.

Five ways Ryanair has irritated us in the past three months

Ryanair caused fury after announcing it was increasing its baggage fees by up to £60 per bag in December.

Also in December, Ryanair came under attack for using 'sexist' photos of staff dressed in underwear in its advertising.

In November, the airline was found to be offering bonuses to workers to motivate them to catch passengers with hand luggage deemed 'too heavy'.

In November, a pregnant woman was left stranded in Portugal after Ryanair refused to let her board her flight home - despite a medical certificate declaring she was fit to fly.

In November, O'Leary announced that he deserved the Nobel Peace prize for 'integrating Europe' and 'preventing wars'.

  • Baggage restrictions

    No, no, we don't really need to take anything with us on our holiday, honestly. We may be going to Norway for two weeks in January, but a toothbrush, t-shirt and a pair of flip-flops will do us just fine. The book, nappies, wet wipes and baby food ? No problem, they'll slip right into the one bag too, that's fine, don't need them at all, yes stick them in the overhead locker miles away from my seat, too. Marvellous.

    Source: Getty
  • No seat pocket

    Remember in the old days when the seat in front of you had a pocket you could stow your bits and pieces, magazines, bottle of water etc, instead of having to strew them all over the floor? They might be saving space and weight, but when your three-year-old starts projectile vomiting and the seat belt sign's on, suddenly a seat pocket full of sick bags makes a lot of sense. Ah, sweet revenge...

    Source: Getty
  • Lousy legroom

    Jeez, there's nothing like 29" legroom pitch and a non-reclining seat back to force you to practice your yoga moves. Like human origami, we fold our limbs into unnatural shapes and wonder why we can't feel our feet by the end of the flight. And we're relatively normal! What it's like for a 6ft 7" man, or a 7 month pregnant woman with a 20 month old on her 'lap' doesn't bear thinking about...

    Source: Alamy
  • Surly service

    OK, when you're paying more for your beer than your air fare, you can't expect silver service, but would a smile hurt? We feel for the cabin crew dealing with leery stag weekenders and bitter businessmen whose companies won't cough up for a proper airline, but it would be nice to be treated slightly more like a human being, less like a walking wallet from whom to extract as much cash as possible in a two hour period. Scratch card, perfume, magazine, £2.50 bottle of water, anyone?

    Source: Getty