ROME After enraging the French president and his bride by using them in an advertisement, budget airline Ryanair is promoting its flights in the Italian press as a way of escaping piles of trash that are choking the city of Naples.
Above a photograph of piles of rubbish sacks -- an image which has come to symbolise Naples in recent months where the waste disposal system has ground to a halt -- the advert reads: "Pay the taxes! Not for waste (disposal) but to escape."
Playing on public outrage at the waste emergency and the fact that locals continue to pay a refuse tax even when their streets are shoulder-high in rotting garbage, the airline offers 250,000 free flights where the customer only pays airport taxes.
But like President Nicolas Sarkozy and his new wife Carla Bruni -- whose image was used for adverts in France, the city of Naples is not amused.
"The only rubbish to be escaped from is Ryanair's advertising," said Marco di Lello, head of tourism at the regional government of Campania of which Naples is the capital.
"I am disgusted by this exploitation by an airline which has never even flown to Naples," he told Ansa news agency.
The nearest airport for Neapolitans to catch a Ryanair flight would be Rome, according to its website.
A French court ordered Ryanair to pay 60,000 euros to Bruni for the advertisement which showed a cartoon bubble above a photograph of the couple, reading: "With Ryanair, my whole family can come to my wedding."
(Reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Jon Boyle)