Ryanair pilot sacked over role in documentary

Airline says it will not allow employees to defame its safety record on national TV

Thu, Aug 15, 2013, 12:41

Ryanair has sacked one of its longest serving pilots for revealing safety concerns in a Channel 4 documentary this week.

The airline said in a statement that Captain John Goss, who has been with Ryanair for 27 years, had been dismissed for “gross misconduct” with immediate effect and was being sued for defamation.

In a statement issued late last night, the airline said: “Ryanair’s safety has been independently confirmed as being ‘on a par with the safest airlines in Europe’.

“It is delivered on a daily basis by over 9,000 outstanding aviation professionals whose commitment to safety is absolute.

“We will not allow a Ryanair employee to defame our safety on national television just three weeks after he confirmed in writing to Ryanair that he had no concerns with safety and no reason to make any confidential safety report to either the IAA or Ryanair.

“We look forward to correcting Mr Goss’s defamatory claims in court in due course, but will not be commenting further on this issue which is now the subject of legal proceedings.”

Capt Goss was the only Ryanair pilot to be identified on the documentary.

The programme featured a survey of more than 1,000 Ryanair pilots, most of whom expressed misgivings about safety at the airline. It found 94 per cent wanted regulators to conduct an inquiry into the impact of employment practices on safety, while two-thirds were not comfortable raising issues through an internal reporting system.

Ryanair has dismissed the survey as a “fabrication” and the pilots group as a front for pilots from rival airlines.

Capt Goss expressed concern, not only about Ryanair’s safety culture, but also about the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

He told the programme: “My personal belief is that the majority of Ryanair pilots do not have confidence in the safety agencies and that is a pretty critical issue.”

He was due to retire in October.

French minister for transport Frédéric Cuvillier expressed concerns about the contents of the documentary.

Mr Cuvillier said he was concerned if Ryanair pilots felt inhibited in raising concern with the airlines about safety issues.

He explains: “Such practices, if confirmed, would be of concern and would reveal a violation of the rules.”

He did, however, acknowledge that Ryanair is controlled by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and the levels of aviation safety are “among the highest in the world”.