Ryanair pilots fly when they're unfit to fly. Because of the working conditions at Ryanair they feel a pressure to fly when unfit. Under European rules this is illegal. The pilots speak out in Thursday night's edition of Brandpunt Reporter. Professional organisations are requesting an investigation into the corporate culture of the Irish airline company.
In Brandpunt Reporter three airline captains and one copilot tell their story. It turns out that Ryanair pilots are flying aeroplanes when sick or exhausted. "The corporate culture puts us in this position. It shouldn't be allowed to happen." A colleague adds: "If we don't fly, we don't get paid. So, if you're sick or unfit to fly or when you have personal problems, there will be consequences for your income."
Ryanair will not discuss things with professional organisations or trade unions. The legal status of most Ryanair pilots is weak because they are hired as contractors through a complicated construction. One pilot says: "It's exploitation. You lose your morale and your motivation. You feel like a slave." Most pilots are paid for flying hours only and have no healthcare insurance, no disability insurance and no pension scheme. A former Ryanair captain says: "It is obvious that they will fly when they are unfit."
The pilots admit to Brandpunt Reporter that they have flown when unfit. "There's too much at stake to take these kinds of risks, but we do it every day," one of them admits. Nico Voorbach, president of the European Cockpit Association (ECA), says it's really hard for pilots to admit to this, because it is a punishable offense."
"This is shocking. I am deeply touched, because our professional honour is at stake," says Evert van Zwol of the Dutch Association of Commercial Pilots (VNV). Last week, both ECA and VNV have asked for an investigation into the fuel policy of the Irish prize fighter and now they want to broaden the investigation. Nico Voorbach: "I think the corporate culture of Ryanair should be investigated."
Evert van Zwol adds: "This culture is very bad for safety. The authorities should deal with it."
Both organisations feel the investigation should be conducted by the European Committee, the European airlines safety organization EASA and the airline inspections of the member states. ECA president Nico Voorbach says: "We urge them to do it as soon as possible. Yesterday rather than today."
In a statement Ryanair denies the allegations of the pilots and calls the reports from Reporter a new low in so called "investigating journalism."
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