Ryanair pilots’ union to brief media

Union has complained about system through which many of Ryanair’s pilots are employed

The Ryanair Pilots Group (RPG) has announced it is to host its first press conference in what is understood to be a determination to counter comments about it by Ryanair and its chief executive Michael O'Leary.

The attendance at the press conference, in Brussels on October 29th next, is to include pilot John Goss, who was fired by Ryanair after he appeared on a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary about the airline.

Ryanair has also initiated a defamation case against Capt Goss, as well as against a number of its pilots who have made online comments about the airline with which it has taken issue. Capt Evert van Zwol, a pilot against whom the airline initiated High Court proceedings earlier this month, is also scheduled to attend the event.

The airline has also initiated a High Court action against Channel 4.


The press conference is expected to hear refutations by the RPG of claims and criticisms made about it by Ryanair, which has said the group is not representative of its pilots but is rather composed of pilots from rival airlines. Asked for a comment on the proposal to hold a press conference, a spokesman for Ryanair said: "We don't comment on KLM or Aer Lingus pilots."

The RPG has complained about the system through which many of Ryanair’s pilots are employed by way of a complicated system where a contracting company selects pilots who are then asked to become worker/directors of services companies established in Ireland so that their services can be supplied to Ryanair. One of the effects of the system is to free Ryanair from being subject to various employment laws.

Last month, Ryanair told a court in South Africa the steps it is taking to identify people who are making anonymous comments on the internet about its attitude to safety.

The court was told Ryanair had engaged a law firm in Los Angeles to file libel proceedings against a number of defendants in the Los Angeles Superior Court. It had also issued proceedings against Internet Brands in California, the registered owner of a website used by pilots, and issued subpoenas against Yahoo, Microsoft and Google in pursuit of information.

Court orders

Earlier this year Ryanair got court orders in the Republic instructing Eircom and UPC to provide it with information concerning the identity of parties whom, the High Court was told, had made postings that falsely impugned Ryanair's safety record.