Ryanair initiates defamation case against pilot
Captain appeared on documentary making allegations about airline safety practices
Ryanair has initiated High Court defamation proceedings against a pilot. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
Ryanair has initiated High Court defamation proceedings against a pilot who appeared in a documentary which made allegations about its safety practices.
The airline today began the action against Captain John Goss in the High Court in Dublin, lawyer Paul Tweed of Johnson solicitors said in a statement.
The move follows the broadcast last week of a Channel 4 Dispatches programme which claimed Ryanair pilots were being put under pressure to fly with minimum fuel loads, an allegation the airline denies.
In a statement, Mr Tweed said Ryanair issued the proceedings following what it called “ serious defamatory comments” by Capt Goss during the broadcast, which it said “impugned the integrity of the Irish aviation safety agencies and by extension questioned Ryanair’s industry-leading safety record”.
The airline sacked Capt Goss last week. He had been due to retire in October. In the programme, he made allegations about several aspects of the airline’s safety culture.
Mr Tweed said the pilot had failed to provide Ryanair with “any acceptable explanation” as to why he appeared on the programme “just weeks after he confirmed in writing (July 10th) that he had no concerns regarding Ryanair’s safety.”
He argued there were “extremely serious implications” arising from Capt Goss’s comments which were “extensively reported” as questioning Ryanair’s safety procedures.
The legal firm had been instructed to “vigorously pursue” the action with a view to “obtaining total vindication” from the pilot of “Ryanair’s industry leading safety which has been independently verified as being on a par with the safest airlines in Europe,” the statement said.
Last week, the airline initiated defamation proceedings against Channel 4 and Blakeway Productions, which produces Dispatches; Associated Newspapers which owns the MailOnline; and the Mirror Group, publisher of the Daily Mirror.
The Ryanair Pilot Group (RPG) last week accused of the airline of trying to “suppress discussion” about airline safety after it sacked Capt Goss.