Low-cost carrier Ryanair cuts back on amenities but never on safety, so the company is taking legal action against anonymous internet commenters who post “unlawful and wrong statements” that damage the airline’s reputation. The company has asked a South African court to force the telecom group Telkoms to help identify a person whose posts have been highly – and it argues, unfairly -- critical of the airline.
The individual, who posts on the popular pilot’s website PPRuNe.org using the tagline alwaysflying, has accused Ryanair flight staff of incompetency and bad judgement.
One recent posting read: “I don’t care if it’s wind/ delays/ weather or anything, if you are flying around your destination eating into alternate fuel then you shouldn’t be a pilot. If they were employed at my company I would have fired the lot of them!”
In an affidavit, Ryanair company secretary Juliusz Komorek argued that these unfounded posts could jeopardize the company’s business, and is seeking the removal of the “wrong and unlawful” statements. In past cases the company has settled for public apologies and charitable donations from the anonymous posters.
Because investigators have also identified IP addresses in Ireland and the UK, the company has extended the scope of its legal action beyond South Africa. The Irish Times reports that Ryanair has initiated proceedings against the registered owner of PPRuNe.org, California-based Internet Brands.
The company has also targeted Yahoo, Microsoft and Google, serving the internet giants with subpoenas in search of information about the identity of alwaysflying and other anonymous posters.
Recently, the company has secured orders from Irish courts instructing Eircom and UPC to provide the identities who made false postings about Ryanair’s safety record.