Ryanair slammed for ‘sexist’ bikini calendar

After numerous complaints about a provocative Ryanair advert featuring a calendar bursting with a bevy of bikini-clad women, the discount airline has been rapped by Sweden's advertising watchdog which ruled the advert was "sexist".

Ryanair slammed for 'sexist' bikini calendar

The calendar, released in November, was the 2012 edition of Ryanair’s Cabin Crew Charity Calendar, featuring scantily clad Ryanair stewardesses.

In December, the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen – RO) reported having received a barrage of complaints from irate Swedes about the advertisements promoting the calendar.

According to many, the racy images of women in lingerie accompanied by text reading “Our prices are red hot” with a subnote “and our staff” were derogatory toward women.

All told, the agency received complaints from a total of 56 individuals, as well as from the two pro-gender equality organizations.

At the time, Ryanair spokesperson Stephen McNamara defended the calendar, despite the flood of complaints from angry Swedes.

“Ryanair’s cabin crew calendar has raised €500,000 ($672,000) for charity in just five years and we will continue to support the right of our crew to take their clothes off to raise money for those who need it most,” he told The Local in December.

In a ruling issued on Wednesday, however, the watchdog proclaimed that the advertising campaign was “sexist”.

According to the ombudsman, the women featured in the calendar had “no relation” to the products being advertised and that “through their clothing and poses the women are being protrayed as pure sex objects”.

As such, the adverts present women in an “offensive manner” and could be considered sexist, therefore constituting a breach of Article 4 of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Consolidated Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication.

Ryanair has now been given the opportunity to comment, but has not responded as yet, according to a statement from the ombudsman.

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Ryanair flights grounded as pilots strike

Ryanair's pilots in Sweden went on strike on August 10th, with several flights cancelled at Skavsta.

Ryanair flights grounded as pilots strike
Ryanair flights cancelled on Friday at Skavsta Airport. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

Pilots in Ireland, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands also joined the 24-hour strike over demands for a collective labour agreement and better working conditions and representation.

In Sweden, around 40 Ryanair pilots were striking until midnight between Friday and Saturday.

“Today our members are on strike to demand their rights. For decades Ryanair has refused their employees basic labour rights most employees on the labour market take for granted, but here a strike is necessary to show the airline that it no longer can avoid treating its employees in a dignified manner,” Martin Lindgren, President of the Swedish Pilots' Union, said in a statement.

Twenty-two flights which were due to depart or travel to Skavsta Airport south of Stockholm on Friday.

The airport usually welcomes around 700 travellers for the first few departures of the day, but on Friday morning the building was almost completely empty, news agency TT reported.

“We want to again apologize to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling anymore unjustified strikes,” tweeted Ryanair.

Compensation can be claimed for some cancelled flights but it varies and depends on how much information was given in advance. For journeys under 1500km a maximum of €250 can be claimed (or €400 for flights between 1500 and 3,000km), but in the event that the airline directly warned passengers of their flight cancellation with 15 days' notice, there is no right to request economic compensation. More information can be found here