Irish low fares carrier Ryanair has issued a denial of most of the safety lapses alleged by a UK television documentary aired last night and called on UK advertising authorities to take action against the programme's makers for misleading publicity shots.
The UK Channel 4 network broadcast Ryanair: Caught Napping as part of its Dispatches series of documentaries at 20:00 last night. The programme used footage from undercover reporters working as cabin crew for the Irish low fares carrier, who allegedly found breaches in safety and security practices including: incomplete training; less-than-rigorous passenger identity checks; failure to check safety equipment; and over-tired crew.
The carrier issued a statement last night after the programme was aired refuting the allegations, adding it had evidence to disprove most of the producer Steve Boulton's claims. UK and Irish aviation authorities would back up this view, it adds.
However, the carrier did admit that there were "minor breaches" or rules, but stressed these were far from unique within the air transport industry and would be investigated.
The airline is also calling on the UK Advertising Standards Authority to censure Channel 4 for misleading publicity after the network used posed pictured of cabin crew asleep while manning emergency exits. Ryanair says the escape handle on Ryanair's Boeing 737-800 is different to the aircraft configuration shown in the photo. It adds that all Ryanair's aircraft are fitted with double jump-seats and not a single jump seat as shown in the Channel 4 photo.
Ryanair's chief executive, Michael O'Leary, says: "It is a sad reflection on this Channel 4 programme that it needs to manufacture a photograph to promote a programme whose written evidence so far has been found to be of no substance by both the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the Irish Aviation Authority".
Read Kieran Daly’s view on separating fact from fiction in the Ryanair Dispatches documentary
...and why even Ryanair is going to have to be liked one day