Ryanair boss gets pied in the face just before press conference
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Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary didn't receive the warmest of welcomes in Belgium ahead of a press conference in Brussels, with him instead being greeted with a pie in the face.
O'Leary, 62, jetted off to Belgian capital today (7 September) for a press conference and to deliver a petition against the country's decision to protect flights over Europe.
This comes after Belgium-based Ryanair pilots recently announced their intention to strike on 14-15 September as part of their demands for better salaries and working conditions.
September 14 is significant for the budget airline as its the day of the Annual General Meeting of Ryanair shareholders in Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
As O'Leary was preparing to be interviewed while stood next to a cardboard cutout of of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, two women marched up to the businessman with cream pies.
One went for the 62-year-old's face, while another got the back of his head as he tried to swerve them.
One of the women, believed but not confirmed to be an eco-activist, shouted: "Welcome to Belgium!"
"Well done," O'Leary said in response to the unexpected incident.
But it didn't rattle the Irishman who proceeded to chat to journalists, saying: "I have never had such a warm welcome.
"Unfortunately it was environmentalists and the cream was artificial. I invite passengers to come to Ireland where the cream is better!"
Ryanair itself have also taken the ordeal in its stride and took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to poke fun at the situation.
Sharing a snap of O'Leary with his face covered in cream, the official account for the airline jested: "Warm welcome in Brussels today to celebrate RYR’s 7 new routes for Winter 23.
"Passengers so happy with our routes and petition that they’re celebrating with cake. We’ve got tasty low fares!"
They also used it as an opportunity to plug their cheap flights to Belgium.
"Instead of buying cream pies, could have bought a flight from Belgium for the same price," the page wrote.
Ryanair has been at loggerheads with some of its Belgian pilots for some time now.
Back in July, the airline was forced to cancel almost 100 flights as a result of the strikes, with further strikes in August causing problems for holiday-goers.
One of the big issues that pilots are protesting about is Ryanair's suggestion of reducing the number of pilots' rest days, which pilots claim are unlawful.
Elsewhere, they want higher salaries to compensate for inflation.
As it stands, it remains unclear how many pilots plan on striking next week, but Ryanair flights to and from Charleroi airport are expected to be affected, Reuters reports.