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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 April, 2003, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Ryanair's 'Sahaf' advert angers rival
Mohammed Saeed Sahaf
Mr Sahaf's version of events differed radically from reality
Low-cost airline Ryanair has been criticised for an advert featuring the former Iraqi information minister.

The advert casts Mohammed Saeed Sahaf in the role of a spokesman for Ryanair's main rival, Easyjet.

Mr Sahaf, who became infamous during the war for holding wildly over-optimistic news conferences, is shown claiming Easyjet has the lowest airfares.

Easyjet spokesman Toby Nichol said the ad was insensitive.

"I think to use any reference to the war you have to be very careful," he said.

"At Easyjet we took a deliberate strategy not to mention the war in any shape or form on the basis that there had been enough pain and misery caused, " Mr Nichol said.

The row comes amid ongoing rivalry between the UK's two leading budget airlines.

The two companies have a firm grip on the lion's share of the market - together they carry more than 30 million passengers a year.

A recent survey showed budget airlines are outscoring charter carriers and other scheduled service operators when it comes to satisfying passengers.

However, recently Easyjet's profits have fallen whereas in February Ryanair unveiled profits and passengers numbers up by almost 50%.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Mark Gregory
"Ryanair and Easyjet are waging a relentless marketing battle for the hearts and minds of European budget travellers"



SEE ALSO:
Profile: Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf
18 Apr 03  |  Middle East
Easyjet bargains hit profits
07 Apr 03  |  Business
Ryanair 'to overtake Air France'
04 Feb 03  |  Business


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