Ryanair

Ryanair, Europe's biggest airline, has decided to ban the press from next week's annual meeting because it doesn't want the event "being distorted for PR purposes."

The company also nixed any post-meeting chats with the media.

The $8B Irish discount carrier, which made its mark by disrupting the global passenger airline business, issued this statement on Sept. 10: "Ryanair today advised all relevant financial media that at its AGM next week, there will be no press invited or admitted to the meeting and no press briefing afterwards."

CEO Michael O'Leary apparently feels shareholders will be more forthcoming without the threat that their words may wind up in the media.

"We wish to allow shareholders to discuss all matters freely with the Board without these discussions being distorted for PR purposes," said the company's statement.

Ryanair's head of investor relations Shane O'Toole has not yet responded to an email, asking about feedback from the move to ban the media from the AGM, which will be held in County Meath's Gormanstown, which is north of the carrier's Dublin headquarters.

The airline hit a rough patch during fiscal 2019's first-quarter (ended June) as after-tax profit plunged 20 percent to $370M on a nine percent dip in revenues to $2.4B. Passenger headcount advanced seven percent to 37.6M.

O'Leary blamed the lackluster results on "overcapacity in the European market, with Germany in particular very price competitive this summer."

This year's weaker pricing environment is due to a tough comparison to the 2018 World Cup period, northern European heat wave and customer uncertainty about pilots' strikes, according to O'Leary. 

Ryanair today warned that wildcat strikes by German pilots and cabin crews could lead to job cuts. German unions have long criticized the airline for using pilots hired from third-party agencies. Ryanair promises that all German pilots will be under contract by the end of the year.

Ryanair flies to more than 220 destinations in 37 countries. Its stock trades on the NASDAQ at $95.49, near its 52-week low of $94.48. Shares traded as high as $127.61 during the past year.