By Frances Leate
A GROUP of pilots working for budget airline Ryanair have spoken out over a money-saving fuel policy that they say could cost lives.
As reported in the Olive Press in September, Ryanair was investigated by Spain’s Aviation Authority after three jets had to make emergency landings in Valencia because of low fuel all on the same day last July.
Speaking anonymously on a Dutch TV show, the four whistle-blowers said they were forced to fly the Boeing 737-800 planes on as little fuel as legally possible in order to save the cost-cutting airline money.
One said many of the crew were ‘under extra pressure’ because of the potentially dangerous policy.
He added: “I hope it doesn’t take a crash from one of our planes to wake everybody up.”
Former Ryanair captain Ian Somner also told the TV show the airline operated an ‘oppressive regime’ of ‘bullying, intimidation, threats and harassment’.
But Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary claimed Somner and the other three pilots were lying. He said: “They are quoted anonymously, because what they are telling you are lies.”
Last night a spokesperson for Ryanair said: “The claims made by this Dutch TV programme are factually untrue.
“As the official report into the three Valencia weather diversions confirmed, all three pilots took extra fuel and all three aircraft fully complied with safety regulations.”
He added: “The only pressure placed on Ryanair pilots is to prioritise safety, which is why Ryanair has an outstanding 28 year safety record.”