Michael O’Leary’s threat to sack Ryanair pilots during a live interview on Bloomberg TV is unprecedented in the history of commercial aviation. Ryanair management recently stated that pilots taking part in a petition related to operational safety matters would be dismissed.
The original petition – which asked for an independent investigation into safety issues – was withdrawn because the Ryanair management threat of dismissal was considered to emphatically demonstrate the need for such an investigation.
Ryanair’s reaction demonstrates the company’s well-established resistance to any kind of independent examination of the airline’s behaviour.
Mr O’Leary suggested that the recent survey was “mixing safety and pay”, which is one of several misrepresentations by Ryanair of the actual facts. The petition explicitly and exclusively dealt with Ryanair pilots opinions on the need to investigate safety issues.
The withdrawn RPG petition called on “the IAA and EASA, particularly in conjunction with the regulators in Italy, Germany, Norway and France, to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the impact of the Ryanair employment model on the potential safety of flight operations.” Pilots also asked that “… this issue be addressed as a matter of urgency and that the results of any evaluation be made known to all pilots operating for Ryanair.”
Ryanair pilots across Europe will today (May 24, 2013) begin a new survey. This survey considers the content of a memo issued by the Ryanair Chief Pilot which warns pilots that “anyone who participates in this so called ‘safety petition’ will be guilty of gross misconduct and liable for dismissal”.
The RPG believes that no professional pilot can operate satisfactorily and safely in an environment where such threats are considered either necessary or appropriate. Free reporting to any Agency open to receive Safety reports from other pilots must be protected and available for use by Ryanair pilots too – for obvious reasons.