Controversial Irish Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary angered Greek authorities yesterday by suggesting Greek passengers on his new route from Britain to Greece “could pay in mountain goats" given the state of their economy.

O’Leary was opening new routes for Ryanair from Leeds in Britain to the Greek Islands of Corfu, Kos and Crete. He also insulted Greeks by stating that anyone "wishing to flee" the country could take advantage of the new flights.

He was asked if Greek passengers could pay in drachmas as it now seemed possible the country would leave the Euro Zone.

"We’re not proud, we take any currency, including mountain goats,” O’Leary responded.

His remarks shocked Greek journalists and were negatively received in Athens.


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O’Leary however seemed unabashed, saying the new flights would enormously help the Greek economy, because they would "take advantage of any big Greek devaluation" stating there's going to be a tourist boom.

“For Greece, the tourist business will become more important than ever."

He stated that “Greeks wishing to flee’ the country’s crisis could now fly into Leeds to buy properties he said."They all speak the same language in the Yorkshire Dales.”

Earlier this week, in another controversy, O’Leary posed semi-naked for his company’s 2012 calendar with a bevy of near-naked female cabin crew members.