Four anonymous Ryanair pilots have accused Ryanair management of putting pilots under pressure to take on board as less fuel as possible and criticized the labour policy of the company, which could endanger flight safety. They did so in a two part series of the Dutch tv programme Reporter. The programme cited an occurance in July 2012, when pilots of three Ryanair aircraft that had to divert to Valencia declared fuel emergencies in quick succession. Ryanair compiles lists of captains according to their use of fuel. The highest ranking, who use less fuel, are printed in green, the ones lowest on the list in red. Pilots ranking low on the list fear reprisals by Ryanair management, like transfer to a less desirable hub or even sacking. Junior Ryanair pilots fly without pay but have to pay € 30.000 first for their type rating. Around 70% of Ryanair pilots is forced to be selfemployed. They only get paid when they fly, which may lead to pilots flying when they are actually ill. In the programme the chairman of the European Cockpit Association, Nico Voorbach, urged the European Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to investigate the flight safety risks of Ryanair's policies. The Irish aviation authority IAA has urged Ryanair to review its fuel policy, as reported on the Flightglobal website on 25 September 2012. The infuential Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant publshed a drawing by cartoonist Jos Collignon in which crew and passengers line up in front of Ryanair counters, all of them with jerrycans with fuel as extra luggage. Unfortunately I cannot show the cartoon for copyright reasons. Ryanair reacted with a statement in which it pointed out the company has a flight safety record of 28 years without a fatal accident.
The aircraft pictured is Boeing 737-8AS(WL) c/n 33628 (l/n 2520) EI-DWZ of Ryanair departing Ryanair Dutch hub Eindhoven airport (EHEH) on 5 September 2012. The aircraft made its first flight on 6 February 2008 and entered service with Ryanair on 2 February 2008.
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Part 1 of the Dutch Reporter tv-series on Ryanair (Mayday, Mayday)
Part 2 of the Dutch Reporter tv-series on Ryanair (Mayday, Mayday)
Flightglobal report on the 26 July 2012 fuel emergencies
The IAA report on the 26 July fuel emergencies
Ryanair's reaction to the claims by Dutch tv programme Reporter
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