Investigation into Ryanair Madrid incident
CIRCUMSTANCES surrounding an incident involving a Ryanair plane at Madrid airport on Sunday are to be jointly investigated by the Irish Aviation Authority and its Spanish counterpart.
The decision to hold a joint investigation came as a delegation from the Spanish ministry of development was briefed in Dublin yesterday on Irish oversight of the safety of Ryanair’s operations in Spain.
The visit of Spanish officials led by the Spanish secretary general for transport is the latest move in a row between Ryanair and the Spanish authorities over alleged safety issues.
On Sunday a Ryanair plane which was covering a route between Paris Beauvais and Tenerife landed at Madrid’s Barajas airport due to what the company described as a “small technical problem”. Ryanair apologised to the 159 passengers, who completed their journey after a two-hour delay.
It has also emerged the Spanish ministry of development has sent a letter to the European commissioner for transport Siim Kallas detailing its concerns with the airline’s aviation safety in relation to a number of previous incidents.
Ryanair in turn has accused the Spanish government of orchestrating a publicity campaign against it.
The company said it has been increasing its presence in Spain in recent years and is now the number one carrier of passengers in the country.
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary recently wrote to the Spanish development minister Ana Pastor calling on her to to “take action against the leaking of false information” about the airline.
He also invited her to send a delegation of officials to visit Ryanair facilities in Dublin.
Yesterday’s delegation was, however, invited by the Department of Transport to discuss oversight of the airlines operations in Spain. The Irish authorities also invited their Spanish counterparts to visit the Irish Aviation Authority and to be briefed in detail on safety oversight issues with particular regard to Ryanair.
After the visit Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar publicly backed Ryanair’s safety record and a statement issued jointly by the Irish and Spanish authorities pointed to the Irish Aviation Authority’s assurances of “rigorous” oversight and “satisfaction” with Ryanair’s safety standards. It also noted the Irish side’s assurance that safety standards at Ryanair were “on a par with the safest airlines in Europe”.
In response to the arrival of the Spanish delegation, Ryanair said it welcomed the statement “which affirms that Ryanair’s safety standards are on par with the safest airlines in Europe”.
Ryanair said it had also invited the Spanish ministry to send a team of inspectors to Dublin.
It would provide any future delegation “with unfettered access to Ryanair operating, maintenance and flight training facilities, and unlimited access to Ryanair’s safety, flight management, engineering and maintenance personnel”.