Ryanair In The Dock – BALPA
At The TUC
September 15, 2010
- At a special TUC fringe meeting organized by the Daily Mirror, British
Air Line Pilots' Association (BALPA) raised the growing use of self
employed pilots in Ryanair. The fringe meeting heard from ‘employees’ in
the building, taxi and pub industry who were to all intents and purposes
‘employed’ but whose ‘employer’ exploited a grey area in the law to
categorize them as self-employed and take them out of sick pay, holiday
pay, pension entitlement and a whole host of health and safety measures.
Their stories were
remarkably similar to a growing number of Ryanair pilots and should be a
warning to all pilots. Daily Mirror investigative journalists are
looking to follow up the case. BALPA was also able to expose the huge
dangers of allowing Mr. O’Leary’s latest publicity stunt to go
unchecked. In a recent interview he is reported as follows:
A BUDGET airline
boss has been criticized for his "horrifying"
proposal to employ just one pilot on flights with back-up only from
an air stewardess. Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary turned his focus on the
cockpit as part of his ongoing drive to save money at the cost-cutting
operator. He plans to write to aviation authorities for permission to
use only one pilot per flight because he believes co-pilots are
unnecessary on modern jets.
that the second pilot is there as insurance for the incapacitation of
the first pilot and asked whether single engine airliners might also be
introduced so convinced is Mr. O’Leary of reliability! BALPA explained
that although the co-pilot is there to deal with incapacitation, he or
she is also there as an apprentice to learn the role of airline pilot
and to gain experience.
The parallel is, would MOL be happy for a nurse to complete his surgery if the surgeon is indisposed? Alternatively should there be an apprentice surgeon present to learn the skills required and eventually apply them successfully when fully trained with a further apprentice alongside?
Ryanair is also the target of letters in the Financial Times from our
Ryanair plan to axe co-pilots raises safety issue
From Captain Evan
Cullen. (President, Irish Airline Pilots’ Association,
Sir, I refer to “Ryanair’s
talk of spree on aircraft casts cloud over dividend hopes” (September 8)
where Michael O’Leary is quoted as saying that the risk of pilot
incapacitation does not merit the presence or cost of a qualified
Mr. O’Leary is
notably skilful at obtaining publicity by means of outrageous statements
that the media find newsworthy. However, his misrepresentations in this
case demand clarification. His claims that there was only one such
incident in 25 years and that the pilot “landed the plane” are
In fact, there
have been at least two significant events in Ryanair involving crew
member incapacitation. In the reported event, the physicians who
eventually reached the cockpit determined the captain to be clinically
dead. (While he was revived following strenuous efforts he subsequently
died.) The captain did not land the aircraft, as was claimed by Mr.
O’Leary. However, the safety outcome was well within tolerances expected
in such rare events. This testifies to the key role played by the
co-pilot. In the second incident, the incapacity of a captain gave rise
to potentially grave consequences that exceeded acceptable safety
tolerances. The safety implications are obvious, as is the reason for
having two qualified pilots in the cockpit.
In respect of Mr.
O’Leary’s comments, members of the deceased captain’s family wish that
these matters be clarified. I therefore write to you on their behalf as
well as that of my organization. The family note that the official
accident report contains references to failures of training in pilot
incapacitation provided to the cabin crew, as well as the elapsed time
prior to providing the captain with oxygen and medical assistance. In
fact, this most unfortunate event evokes for them unpleasant memories
that go beyond the immediate operational consequences of pilot
incapacitation. Their appreciation of all the events and circumstances
surrounding the incapacitation event is very different from that
represented by Mr O’Leary.
Mr. O’Leary has
been on the board of Ryanair since 1988 and chief executive since 1994.
That he is prepared to make such statements while, apparently, not being
fully briefed on these important safety matters is entirely consistent
with Ryanair’s “innovative” approach to staff relations, safety, pilot
fatigue and related matters.
Get cabin crew to replace Ryanair CEO
Sir, I would like
to share with you a cost-saving suggestion I have proposed to the
Ryanair board (“Ryanair’s talk of spree on aircraft casts cloud over
dividend hopes”, September 8). I write in my capacity as a B737-800 line
training captain assigned to Ryanair’s
As a Ryanair
employee, I am aware of the company’s desire to reduce costs whenever
feasible, and, in so doing, pass on these lower costs in the form of
lower fares to the travelling public.
I would propose
that Ryanair replace the chief executive with a probationary cabin crew
member currently earning about €13,200 net a year. Ryanair would benefit
by saving millions of Euros in salary, benefits and stock options.
Further, there will be no need to petition either Boeing or governmental
aviation regulators for approval to replace the CEO with a cabin crew
member; as such approval would not be required.
Finally, the position of CEO could, in fact, become a source of ancillary revenue for Ryanair. Currently, Ryanair’s contract cabin crew providers charge new recruits for the cost of their training – €3,000 in fact. Ryanair could similarly charge €3,000 for the training required to become chief executive.At the TUC this week BALPA made it clear that it would be opting out of a call for coordinated industrial action across all unions over public sector cuts unless members decided differently.
|Other News Stories
|©AvStop Online Magazine Contact Us Return To News|