Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary is back in the press this weekend with suggestions that cabin crew could be trained to land flights in an emergency.
Civil aviation regulations demand that all passenger aircraft have a pilot and co-pilot but O’Leary has proposed removing the second pilot in order to reduce costs. When asked what would happen in emergency, such as the case of the Continental pilot who died mid-flight recently, the Ryanair boss suggested that cabin crew could land the plane.
O’Leary’s proposition is that in the case of an emergency the pilot could ring a bell on the flight deck and a stewardess comes in and takes over control of the aircraft.
As ever, when O’Leary comes out with another preposterous suggestion his remarks are greeted with much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association says that the idea is ‘unwise, unsafe and the public will be horrified’. The founder of website flyersrights.org says that ‘he insults the dignity of the flying public every time he opens his mouth.’
In reality though, this is no more likely to happen than standing room only aircraft or passengers being charged a quid to go to the toilet. What is more O’Leary knows it. He also knows that he will be getting a lot of free press over the next week or so while everyone talks about how outrageous his plans are. More importantly though, a few weeks from now when this stunt is long forgotten, we will still be left with the impression that Ryanair are cutting costs. We remember that Ryanair are cheap because O’Leary doesn’t let us forget it.
I flew Ryanair last month, they were on time and they were cheap. I also had two pilots, a seat and free access to the toilet. What more could I ask for?