#1Apr 4th, 2006
Times Online April 04, 2006
UK airline hopping mad about 'lazy frogs'
By Times Online and PA News
A UK low-cost airline chief branded the French "lazy frogs" today after one of his planes was delayed flying back to Britain by protesting French students.
Philip Meeson, chief executive of Jet2.com, was incensed that French police allowed about 50 students to stage a runway sit-down that stopped around 100 passengers boarding a Boeing 737 at Chambery airport in the French Alps last night.
Eventually the plane was able to take off for Leeds Bradford airport, where it arrived 90 minutes late.
On his airline’s website, Mr Meeson had complained last week about a strike by French air traffic controllers and called for "lazy frogs to get back to work".
Today he repeated the "lazy frogs" comment and said that he was annoyed that French police had done nothing to stop the Chambery runway protest which also forced Jet2.com to divert a flight from Manchester to the French town of Grenoble as it was unable to land at Chambery.
In his website attack on French air traffic controllers last week, Mr Meeson said: "After a token stoppage, why can’t you just sort the matter out amicably without bringing thousands of people around the world (who, I would like to add give your country huge economic wealth) into the argument?
"You choose to do the job you do and it’s appalling that you are taking advantage of your dominant position by neglecting the responsibility you have to your customers ... yes that’s right, holidaymakers pay your wages."
Mr Meeson said today: "The ‘lazy frogs’ comment was meant to be a bit of fun. It was tongue-in-cheek. After all, the French call us ‘les rosbifs’.
"I was very disappointed the French police stood by and let the students disrupt our flights. It seems to me that either the air traffic controllers or the students run France at the moment."
Meanwhile, another budget airline - Ryanair - was today forced to cancel around 80 flights because of a general strike by government and trade union workers in France.