EasyJet founder accepts damages over 'Pinocchio' adverts
The founder of British low-cost airline easyJet accepted undisclosed libel damages from Irish rival Ryanair on Thursday over adverts which accused him of lying.
Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary apologised to easyJet's Stelios Haji-Ioannou for depicting him as a Pinocchio figure in photographs in four adverts and suggesting he was lying about easyJet's punctuality.
O'Leary said Ryanair now accepted that Haji-Ioannou had no role in the decision to stop publishing weekly updates on whether easyJet flights had arrived and departed on time.
The libel suit was settled out of court.
"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," O'Leary said in a statement.
However, the pugnacious O'Leary said Ryanair would continue to push easyJet to publish its punctuality figures.
On Wednesday, Ryanair was reprimanded by British advertising authorities for misleading customers with low fare offers, after a complaint from easyJet.
© 2010 AFP