The anonymous pilot claimed that many of his colleagues are afraid to talk to executives about poor safety on board for fear of retaliation. Add to this the propensity to work even when you are sick due to the fear of being fired: “70% of our pilots are paid only if they fly. And this is a very strong pressure on their shoulders”. Last April, hundreds of pilots signed a petition asking the Irish authorities to pay more attention to the safety conditions of the flights.

All this just a few months from the book ‘Ryanair. Low cost mais à quel prix?’ (Ryanair. Low cost but at what price?) released on May 24th in France signed Cristian Fletcher, fantasy name of a pilot of the low cost company. The pages describe a management model of the company that is willing to do anything to optimise its earnings, even to “endanger flight safety”. It reads: “Would you be calm as a passenger if you knew that the commander slept just 3 or 4 hours the previous night?“, referring to the infernal rhythms of the crew.


Ryanair on 12th August dismissed inaccurate reports in a number of UK papers, including the Financial Times and the Daily Telegraph, the self styled Chairman of the Ryanair Pilot Group’s Interim Council.

Ryanair pointed out the Ryanair Pilot Group is in fact a Non Ryanair Pilot Group (NRPG), as it is a PR front for the European Cockpit Association, which is the group representing unions of Ryanair’s competitor airlines.

Ryanair also pointed out the self proclaimed Chairman of this Non-Ryanair Group “Interim Council”, Evert Van Zwol, is in fact a KLM pilot and recent President of the Dutch Pilot Union. Ryanair finds that he is not a Ryanair pilot, but is rather a KLM pilot and the recent President of the Dutch Pilot Trade Union.

Ryanair pointed out that this so-called pilot survey was in fact fabricated by the European Cockpit Association (ECA) which is the pilot trade union club for Ryanair’s competitor airlines. Another member of the NRPG Interim Council is Ted Murphy, a lifelong Aer Lingus pilot, former Chairman of the Aer Lingus IALPA pilots union, and a two-term President of IFALPA, the international pilots union.

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “The Non Ryanair Pilot Group (NRPG) is quite clearly a PR front for pilot trade unions of Ryanair’s competitor airlines. A so called “survey” fabricated by these ECA pilot unions ECA pilot unions to use non-existent safety“. Both Ryanair and the Irish Aviation Authority made confidential safety reporting systems which allow any Ryanair pilot to report any concerns without fear of retaliation.

Ryanair’s outstanding 29 year safety record is a matter of rigorous oversight and fact-based evidence. It is not something that can be voted on or subjected to anonymous or fabricated trade union surveys. The Aviation Authority has recently confirmed that “Ryanair’s safety is on par with the safety airlines in Europe“.