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August 17, 2013

Ryanair sue Associated Newspapers, Mirror Group

Ryanair sue Associated Newspapers, Mirror Group

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

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Irish budget airline Ryanair have added newspaper publishers Associated Newspapers and Mirror Group to their legal targets in a High Court defamation action filed yesterday in Dublin that also targets Channel 4.

A Ryanair Boeing 737 pictured in 2006.
Image: WikiABG.

The move confirms the carrier’s expression of intent to sue Channel 4 after the UK broadcaster screened Secrets of the Cockpit, a documentary about safety at the airline, on Monday night. Part of the Dispatches series, the show reported on an incident in Spain last year where three Ryanair jets declared fuel emergencies after being diverted to Valencia. Fuel policy was a strong focus for the documentary.

Pilots interviewed for the programme said they felt pressured to save fuel, the cost of which has hit Ryanair’s profits. The Spanish Air Authority described Ryanair flights usually landing with a bare minimum of fuel, in a report the airline dismissed as “manifestly inaccurate and factually untrue”.

Ryanair have also sacked veteran pilot John Goss for appearing on the show, the only pilot interviewed who did not seek anonymity. Ryanair have stated intent to sue Goss and claim he confirmed in the weeks before the show that he had no issues with his employer’s safety. Goss is a member of Ryanair Pilots Group (RPG), which the airline call a union front.

Channel 4 previously promised when threatened with legal action to see Ryanair in court. “We stand by our journalism, and will robustly defend proceedings if they are initiated,” a spokesperson said. The Belfast Telegraph was also sued but the action has been dropped after the Northern Irish publication issued an apology. The paper had published a story titled “Are budget airlines like Ryanair putting passengers at risk?”.

Associated Newspapers are behind The Daily Mail and its online and Sunday variants. Mirror Group publish The Daily Mirror, its Sunday sister, and The People.

Secrets of the Cockpit also examined an RPG poll of 1,000 Ryanair flight crew, dismissed by the airline as part of unionisation efforts. According to the RPG survey almost 90% of respondents said the safety culture was nontransparent. Two-thirds said they felt uncomfortable raising safety issues, with a pilot interviewed by Channel 4 accusing Ryanair of “threats and bullying”. Ryanair had told pilots anybody signing a “so-called safety petition” might be dismissed.

Over 90% of those surveyed wanted a regulatory inquiry, with RPG saying the survey results were passed to the airline and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). The IAA has already called the programme a “misguided attack” on Ryanair, saying “Ryanair Plc fully complies with all European and international regulations in all areas of its operations”.

Cquote1.svg We have been instructed to vigorously prosecute these libel proceedings Cquote2.svg

—Ryanair’s lawyers

The IAA itself was accused of failing to respond to concerns from Ryanair pilots and one interviewee said his “personal belief is that the majority of Ryanair pilots do not have confidence in the safety agencies and that is a pretty critical issue”. The authority responded “The IAA has responded to personal letters and reports from Ryanair pilots, this included several meetings and face-to-face interviews with pilots and their legal and professional representatives.”

Ryanair makes heavy use of zero-hour contracts, which do not guarantee work and which the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association describe as offering some of aviation’s worst employment conditions. RPG chairman Evert van Zwol, also a recent Dutch Airline Pilots Association president, said zero-hour contracts tended to make pilots choose to fly when unwell and keep quiet if they had safety concerns. In 2005 a Polish Ryanair pilot became lost near Rome a few days after attending his son’s funeral, while his Dutch co-pilot was seeing his first experience of navigating severe weather.

In the 2005 incident air traffic control intervened to keep the flight safe from midair collisions. The Polish pilot told Italian investigators he feared losing his job if he took extra time off work. The investigation concluded in 2009 he had been unfit to fly. Ryanair denied he would have been fired for taking time off to recover.

Secrets of the Cockpit also reported that in twelve separate serious incidents data from cockpit voice recorders had been wiped before investigators could access it, which the carrier says is a common occcurrence in aviation and attributed to pilot error.

In Sweden a report into a Ryanair emergency landing concluded this week an airline employee wiped the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder to prevent the investigation accessing them. The aircraft had returned to an airport near Stockholm shortly after takeoff suffering electrical malfunctions. Ryanair reject the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority’s take on the missing data, telling newspaper Södermanlands Nyheter recordings were reset by a technician trying to repair the aircraft after consultation with Ryanair’s technical department, who did not think the recordings needed saving.

Ryanair, which has never suffered a fatal accident, says the documentary is “false and defamatory”, and the IAA says it is “based upon false and misleading information”. “We have been instructed to vigorously prosecute these libel proceedings,” said a statement from Ryanair’s lawyers, who promised “other litigation is pending”.



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August 16, 2013

Ryanair sack, sue pilot over participation in safety documentary

Ryanair sack, sue pilot over participation in safety documentary

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Friday, August 16, 2013

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Irish budget airline Ryanair have dismissed pilot John Goss, who has worked with the airline for 25 years, over remarks he made in a documentary about safety at the airline. Ryanair issued a statement confirming legal proceedings have been begun against Goss.

A Ryanair Boeing 737 pictured in 2006.
Image: WikiABG.

The airline is already suing the UK’s Channel 4 over Monday night’s broadcast of Secrets of the Cockpit, part of the Dispatches series, in which Goss appeared. The programme discussed the airline’s safety with a focus on fuel policy, investigating allegations Ryanair uses a bare minimum of fuel and intimidates pilots who raise concerns.

Goss, who had been due to retire in October, is a key figure of Ryanair Pilots Group (RPG), which conducted a survey of more than 1,000 flight crew. According to the RPG survey almost 90% of respondents said the safety culture was nontransparent. Two-thirds said they felt uncomfortable raising safety issues. Ryanair had told pilots anybody signing a “so-called safety petition” might be dismissed.

Pilots interviewed for the programme said they felt pressured to save fuel, the cost of which has hit Ryanair’s profits. Following an incident in Spain in which three Ryanair flights declared fuel emergencies after being diverted to Valencia the Spanish Air Authority described Ryanair flights usually landing with a bare minimum of fuel, in a report the airline dismissed as “manifestly inaccurate and factually untrue”.

One anonymous pilot interviewed by Channel 4 accused the airline of “threats and bullying”. Over 90% of those surveyed wanted a regulatory inquiry, with RPG saying the survey results were passed to the airline and the Irish Aviation Authority. RPG is not recognised by the airline which calls the group “[lacking] any independence, objectivity or reliability” and a union front.

The other pilots interviewed by Channel 4 chose to remain anonymous, with only Goss identifying himself. The airline says RPG only conducted their survey to unionise Ryanair pilots and issued a statement describing the documentary as “based on nothing more than anonymous hearsay claims made by individuals whose identity was concealed, and/or by representatives of pilot unions of Ryanair’s competitor airlines masquerading as a non-Ryanair Pilot Group”.

Ryanair claim Goss wrote to the airline saying he had no concerns about safety, stating “We will not allow a Ryanair employee to defame our safety on national television just three weeks after he confirmed in writing to Ryanair that he had no concerns with safety and no reason to make any confidential safety report”. The airline further say they “look forward to correcting Mr Goss’s defamatory claims in court”.

Channel 4 have previously stated an intent to defend the legal action against them.


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  • “Ryanair threaten legal action after documentary on fuel policy, safety” — Wikinews, August 14, 2013

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August 14, 2013

Ryanair threaten legal action after documentary on fuel policy, safety

Ryanair threaten legal action after documentary on fuel policy, safety

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

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Irish budget airline Ryanair have stated intent to sue the UK’s Channel 4 over a documentary broadcast Monday night which discussed safety at the airline. Secrets of the Cockpit focused strongly on fuel policy and featured interviews with pilots.

A Ryanair Boeing 737 pictured in 2006.
Image: WikiABG.

Part of the Dispatches series, the show reported on an incident in Spain last year where three Ryanair jets declared fuel emergencies after being diverted to Valencia. Pilots interviewed for the programme said they felt pressured to save fuel, the cost of which has hit Ryanair’s profits. The Spanish Air Authority described Ryanair flights usually landing with a bare minimum of fuel, in a report the airline dismissed as “manifestly inaccurate and factually untrue”.

Ryanair say their planes carry more fuel than European Union legislation requires and point out the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) monitor their safety record, including fuel policy. Ryanair has never had a fatal accident and the IAA called Secrets of the Cockpit a “misguided attack” which was “based upon false and misleading information”.

The IAA itself was accused of failing to respond to concerns from Ryanair pilots and one interviewee said his “personal belief is that the majority of Ryanair pilots do not have confidence in the safety agencies and that is a pretty critical issue”. An IAA statement yesterday morning read “The IAA has responded to personal letters and reports from Ryanair pilots, this included several meetings and face-to-face interviews with pilots and their legal and professional representatives.” The statement added “Ryanair Plc fully complies with all European and international regulations in all areas of its operations”.

Cquote1.svg We stand by our journalism, and will robustly defend proceedings if they are initiated Cquote2.svg

—Channel 4

Channel 4 promised to see Ryanair in court, saying “We stand by our journalism, and will robustly defend proceedings if they are initiated.” Ryanair called the documentary “false and defamatory”. Other claims in the documentary included that twelve cockpit voice recorders had been wiped after serious incidents, which Ryanair blamed on pilot error and said is a common occcurence in aviation, and that a survey by Ryanair Pilots Group (RPG) found widespread safety concerns at the airline.

RPG is not recognised by the airline which calls the group “[lacking] any independence, objectivity or reliability”. The airline says they conducted their survey, which polled 1,000 flight crew, as part of a long campaign to unionise Ryanair pilots. The airline makes heavy use of zero-hour contracts, which do not guarantee work and which the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association describe as offering some of aviation’s worst employment conditions.

According to the RPG survey almost 90% of respondents said the safety culture was nontransparent. Two-thirds said they felt uncomfortable raising safety issues. Ryanair had told pilots anybody signing a “so-called safety petition” might be dismissed.

One anonymous pilot interviewed by Channel 4 accused the airline of “threats and bullying”. Over 90% of those surveyed wanted a regulatory inquiry, with RPG saying the survey results were passed to the airline and the IAA.

RPG chairman Evert van Zwol, also a recent Dutch Airline Pilots Association president, said zero-hour contracts tended to make pilots choose to fly when unwell and keep quiet if they had safety concerns. In 2005 a Polish Ryanair pilot became lost near Rome a few days after attending his son’s funeral, while his Dutch co-pilot was seeing his first experience of navigating severe weather.

In the 2005 incident air traffic control intervened to keep the flight safe from midair collisions. The Polish pilot told Italian investigators he feared losing his job if he took extra time off work. The investigation concluded in 2009 he had been unfit to fly. Ryanair denied he would have been fired for taking time off to recover.



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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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