Despite receiving assurances from the Irish and UK aviation authorities, allegations of safety breaches by a UK television documentary have led to low fares carrier Ryanair being investigated in France and possibly other European countries.

The French transport ministry has requested the dossiers compiled by the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) in the light of the programme Ryanair: Caught Napping, aired by the UK's Channel 4 network earlier this week. The documentary alleged the low fares carrier had poorly-trained, ill-rested and demoralised staff, leading to safety and security breaches.

The ministry issued a statement following the airing of the documentary saying it will base its investigation on CAA and IAA findings. Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said earlier this week that these dossiers vindicated the carrier, showing only minor breaches, in common with mainline airlines.

The French government is under political pressure to reduce the growth of low fares carriers in the country, which is seen as threatening the dominance of national carrier Air France. Other European countries' authorities are also likely to follow suit and ask to view the dossier, which is standard practice in information-sharing between European aviation authorities.

Read the Flight group of publications' various views on the documentary, with group editor Kieran Daly placing the Dispatches claims into context and Airline Business editor Mark Pilling saying the show's claims point to a more serious issue for the low fares sector.

External links:
Visit the Channel 4 Distpatches microsite for the Ryanair: Caught Napping programme
or see Ryanair's official response to the show's allegations

Source: Flight International