The Ryanair Pilot Group has accused the Department of Transport and the Irish Aviation Authority of not taking its safety concerns seriously.
The group said it could not understand how the concerns of “1,000 professional pilots” were being ignored by the IAA, which regulates the airline.
Both the IAA and the Department of Transport have defended Ryanair's safety record against claims made in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme on Monday night.
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.
The programme included a comment from serving Ryanair pilot Capt John Goss who said pilots had reported incidents to aviation authorities, but had not heard back.
“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.”
The IAA countered by stating that it had always responded to personal letters and reports from Ryanair pilots, including face-to-face meetings.
“The fact that the outcome of an investigation or analysis does not concur with the views of the persons concerned does not alter the fact that they were investigated in full,” a spokesman said.
“The IAA conducts a comprehensive oversight and surveillance programme of all Irish airlines and Ryanair Plc fully complies with all European and international regulations in all areas of its operations.”
The Department of Transport expressed confidence in the IAA’s regulation of Ryanair and said Irish airline and aviation standards were on a par with the best regulatory standards in the world.
The pilots group claims to represent more than half of pilots at the airline although it is not recognised by Ryanair.
Its chairman, Capt Evert van Zwol, disputed Ryanair’s claims that the survey was fabricated. “The opinions of pilots with responsibility for the safety of million of passengers play a crucial role in air safety awareness and do not need to be fabricated,” he said.
“Statements by the IAA and the Irish Department of Transport suggest that both Irish agencies are unwilling to take pilots’ concerns seriously.”
Ryanair has said it will sue the programme-makers for its “false and defamatory” investigation into its safety policy.
In a statement, Channel 4 said: “We stand by our journalism and will robustly defend proceedings if they are initiated.”