In this report, Ryanair pilots speak out about the cost-cutting measures endangering lives. From flying with too little fuel to pilots unfit to fly, the airline may be riding too close to the edge.
On a stormy night over Madrid, a Ryanair pilot diverts to Valencia. Just as he’s about to settle into his holding pattern, he calls into air traffic control, “Mayday, mayday!” The runaway is cleared. But that’s not the end of it. Two further Ryanair flights circling Valencia also call fuel maydays, and a major disaster was only narrowly averted. Michael O’Leary, the company’s controversial CEO, tried to sell the mayday calls as “standard procedure”, but when the Spanish air traffic controller is asked about it, he responds: “never before in ten years have I been asked for a fuel mayday.” As 4 Ryanair pilots explain, flirting with potential disaster comes down to simple economics: “There is huge pressure put on crews to take as little fuel as possible, in order to save money for the company.” The pilots tell of a wider “culture of fear”, defined by “bullying and harassment”. After building up huge debts during training, Ryanair then don’t provide pilots with insurance, food or hotels, “leading to a lot of stress in the cockpit”. Being too sick to fly means not getting paid and falling further into debt. “I flew a plane when I shouldn’t have been operating that flight”, confesses one pilot. Their testimony provides a scandalous insight into an airline riding on the edge of safety. “If we allow this to continue I wouldn’t like to say what the consequences could be.”
Update: Unfortunately the distributor took down the film and replaced it with a trailer.