Last year, 350,000 passengers travelled to and from Norway with Ryanair. Now, several ex-Ryanair employees have come forward with warnings that the low-cost concept is comprimising safety.
With Ryanair, a flight to london can be yours for a few hundred Norwegian Crowns. But an earlier Ryanair employee who spoke with Forbrukerrapporten (the article publisher) claims that the cheap tickets are a result of a cynical business concept and dirty tricks.
"The company exploits its employees right to the limit," says ex-Ryanair pilot Petter Helland to Forburkerrapporten.
He flew for the Irish low-price company for 6 months before resigning in the spring of 2002. He'll never again step aboard a Ryanair aircraft - he has seen too much.
The Authorities are also worried about the development:
"Ryanair and other low-cost operators are cutting corners to save money," is stated in a British CAA report recently published.
The consumer-report (which this article is based on) published in February places the spotlight on low-cost carriers, and especially Ryanair.
Ryanair is one of the most successfull airlines in the world with contineous expansion and enormous proifits. The company is considered to be the third most valuable airline in the world.
BUT HOW IS IT MAKING MONEY?
Several ex-Ryanair employees are raising sharp criticism of the behind-the-scene operations.
"The management has an unofficial system of removing bothersome employees. If you're sick, land with too much fuel remaining in the tanks, or do something else 'wrong,' you're given a demerit point. When you've accumulated too many, they'll fire you," says Petter Helland to Forbruker-rapporten.
Everything must be efficient in Ryanair. Turnarounds are completed in 25 minutes. In that time, the cabin-crew must complete the boarding while the pilots take care of technical matters. Other companies hire additional employees for these duties.
"You hardly have time to stretch your legs. Before you know it, new passengers are onboard," says the Norwegian Ryanair pilot Tore-Eikenes.
Ryanair receives criticism from several sources in the february edition of Forbruker-rapporten, which has attempted to contact the Ryanair management for a comment on several occasions.
But press-spokesperson Paul Fitzsimmons rejects all accusations when confronted by Forbruker-rapporten, and says that on a general basis, "Ryanair has revolutionised airtravel for millions of people by lowering the prices."
Last year 350 000 pax travelled to and from Norway with the low price company Ryanair. Now a former employee warns that the company's low price concept compromizes safety.
With Ryanair you can fly to London for a couple of hudred Krones. But a former employee, whom Forbruker-Rapporten(Consumer Report magazine) has been in contact with, alleges that the low price tickets are the result of a cynical business ethic and dirty tricks.
"The company usees employees to the extreme", said former Ryaniar flyer Peter Helland to Forbruker-Rapporten.
He flew for the Irish low price company for 6 months before quitting in 2002. Now he will never again set foot on board a Ryanair aircraft. He's seen too much of that.
The public authorities are also concerned at the developments.
"Ryanair and other low price companies cut corners to save money" says one report by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, which was published a while ago.
The February issue of Forbruker-Rapporten points the searchlight on low price companies, in particular Ryanair.
Ryanair is one of the most succesful airlines in the world with steady expansion and enormous profits. The company is reckoned to be the third most valuable airline in the world.
BUT HOW DO THEY MAKE MONEY?
Several former employees are now speaking out with strong criticism of the conditions behind the scenes.
"The company has an unofficial system for dealing with troublesome employees. If you're sick, land with too much fuel, do something 'wrong', you get a mark. If you have too many marks, you get the push!", syas Peter Helland to Forbruker-Rapporten.
All is efficiency in Ryanair. Turn-arounds are only 25 minutes. In this time, the cabin personnel take care of boarding whilst the pilots check the technical condition of the aircraft. Other companies have staff employed to take care of these things.
"You can barely stretch your legs. Before you know, it another load of new passengers are in their seats." tells the Norwegian pilot Tore Eikenes to Forbruker-Rapporten.
Ryanair is criticized from several quarters in the February issue who have repeatedly tried to illicit a respponse from the company's management in Dublin.
But press- spokesman Paul FitzSimmons brushes aside the criticism saying, on a general basis,"Ryanair has revolutionised air travel by lowering prices". ____________________________________________________
Sounds like Mr Helland has a bee in his bonnet 'coz he can't take the pressure, if you'll excuse my mixed metaphors.
It may be tough at the top but I draw attention to the thread on Questions, I think, about what the rest of the employees think of their company.
The critics always seem to have the loudest voices.
Having met both gentlemen I must say, I do not understand their comments. Both gentlemen are in my opinion not typical airline pilots, but a rather strange version – the first officer used to be a sailor, so that could be the explanation (no offence)!
They were both stationed in Hahn and caused so much trouble, that nobody took them seriously – so it beats me, that a local Norwegian newspaper do! At the end of the day, they never complained about safety or other security aspects – only about money and what they – in their own opinion – should earn.
Let them dig their own grave - and let us forget all about them.
So "Scandinavian", what you really mean, is that all the roumours one has heard about trouble with the management if you don't take off with minimum fuel, creating a pilot's union leads to automatic dismissal etc. (list is much longer), are all just bullshit, and that everyone asking questions about the operation are weirdo's... sounds just a little bit naive to me....
Gentlemen, thank you for the translation. What an interesting reaction to safety concerns. Shoot the messenger!
"The management has an unofficial system of removing bothersome employees. If you're sick, land with too much fuel remaining in the tanks, or do something else 'wrong,' you're given a demerit point. When you've accumulated too many, they'll fire you,"
These don't sound like the complaints of 'strange' pilots. Any self respecting airline pilot would be bothered by such a culture.
What the article describes is an active blame culture. Pilots should obviously not fly when they are sick, should have the final say on fuel decisions and should not fear retribution for mistakes and errors which there is no culpability.
Safety management in complex organisations is becoming well understood and JAR-OPS states the following: 'an operator shall establish an accident prevention and flight safety programme, which may be integrated with the Quality System, including programmes to achieve and maintain risk awareness by all persons involved in operations'
It is not easy to understand how the system of demerit points described by Peter Helland contributes to a safety culture.
Of course it’s not all rumours, but I think that these two characters are going at bit out of line.
Having worked for a couple of different airlines during the last 20 years, I do recognise that there are few bit and pieces that need to be changed in Ryanair (been here for a couple of years) e.g. annual leave, base captain in STN’s strange fuel policy (in fact its quite simple) and the whole discussion about the 900 hr/year. But at the end of the day, Ryanair is not worse than many other airlines I have worked for.
My experience tells me, that it is always the same type of pilots who runs into problems with the management. Most of us live a nice quite life, and have never had any problems with the” high brass”. But a few unlucky or odd types runs into trouble all the time –makes no difference if they try 20 other airlines. The first officer started to complain after two days in the simulator; “he could not survive of the salary offered”, even though he knew the exact figurer before he signed the contract (got it from his own mouth!)
A long life in aviation has taught me always leave a door open – do not slam it when you leave. Do not – like your Norwegian friends – close one of the only open doors in today’s Europe, by telling coloured versions of their experience in Ryanair. The industry is too small for stunts like that!
Of course it is exciting reading – that’s why people read the Sun, VG in Norway, Expressen in Sweden and Ekstra Bladet in Denmark.
Yarpy, WE go to the trouble of translating the article and you try to put us down for my cynical comment about the intention of two of their quoted sources.
Then you get a response from someone who has FIRST HAND experience of the sources (not just from a friend of a friend of a friend) further questioning their motives and then you have the audacity to attack us for shooting the messenger.
You would be better to check the previously mentioned thread about what Ryanair pilots think of their company (its actually in Reporting Points) than try to read anything into a non-industry publication.
Further more, you don't have to get paid alot or work for a low cost carrier to get pressure to fly with minimum fuel or any of the other things metioned in the article and a few more I'm not going to bring up.
I think you will find that Ryanair pilots are very well paid because their company knows they work harder than the average aircrew.
However they are still covered by the same rules as the rest of us.
I do not work for Ryanair but would be prepared to consider an offer if they contacted me!
Yarpy, while this is an open forum, you did come into the Nordic forum as a foreigner, asking for a favour. The nice gentlemen went through quite a bit of trouble to help you out. I don't know if you speak any foreign languages, or if you have ever translated a page of written text? I can assure you that it takes a fair bit of time to do properly. When I first saw your question, I had a look at the Norwegian text, figured out how much time it would take me to translate, and then left it. Hoping that one of the Scandihooligans would be kind enough....... Which they were.
It behooves you to be pleasant to your hosts instead of rudely attacking those who have helped you out. You do not need to agree with their opinions on Ryan, but show some respect man!
Just to draw the fire a little away from Ryanair, I don't know if you followed the stories about SOS, slip of the tongue, SAS, last year in the scandinavian media but they clearly had some major safety issues to deal with.
Also, the other criticisms of Ryanair have been around for decades and are still valid for other airlines, of that I'm sure.
There are many companies with alot to lose to Ryanair-its politics.
Scandinavian (and Miserlou): I can't see what the latter of the two pilots has said that p!sses you off so much. All he says is:
All is efficiency in Ryanair. Turn-arounds are only 25 minutes. In this time, the cabin personnel take care of boarding whilst the pilots check the technical condition of the aircraft. Other companies have staff employed to take care of these things. "You can barely stretch your legs. Before you know, it another load of new passengers are in their seats." tells the Norwegian pilot Tore Eikenes to Forbruker-Rapporten.
Is this a negative statement? And is it untrue?
The rest is (as far as I can see) quotes from mr. Helland.
And, Scandinavian: I really think it is way out of line to give your personal opinion of named persons on an anonymous forum, based on your experience from working with them.
Nail them for their statements in the article, if you disagree with them, but don't provide us with your own home made psychological profile of possible future colleagues. And the fact that you do this anonymously makes it even worse.
Well, well, well.... When it comes to Ryanair and their working conditions, there seems to be more experts than employees? I guess that only those guys who actually works for, or has been working for FR, knows the truth of what goes on behind the scenes. Personally I think this Mr Helland was very brave to come out and give his version, knowing that it will probably cost him his potential career since the majority rather indulges in gossip and made up stories than the reality. Everyone in the aviation business should be proud that someone has the guts to stand up for our rights!!! It's about time!
I was just wondering what airline one must have worked in to be considered an airline pilot according to Scandinavian? Having read what you lot have been saying it seems to me that no one, including Scandinavian, has ever been working for a respectable company! If you're used to getting treated badly maybe FR isn't such a bad choice. Battered women seem to always find men who beat them, not?
When it comes to pointing out people, naming them, and saying that you've meet them or know them, and going public about them not being airline pilots, I think Scandinavian should be very careful! Do unto others what you want them to do unto you!
The pilot you back talk today could be the pilot who manages to save you or your family from disaster tomorrow! You'll never know, will you?
I'm not pissed off, just cynical at the intentions of the article.
The tone of the article is negative and the quotes serve to back up the criticism, that people are working hard.
Ryanair is a major employer and one of the few still hiring when all others seem to be firing.
As pilots, we must surely recognize how things can be misinterpreted.
For example, to fly with minimum fuel for example is no crime and if the extra fuel you pick up costs significantly more than at base and there is no reason to justify that extra fuel may be required, then I can understand the management's displeasure. If you do want more fuel, you calculate your requirements with 'extra' fuel and you then have an increased 'minimum' fuel figure.
You still take-off with minimum fuel but its just a different number!
Now, try to explain this to a layman through the non-industry media and you can end up with all sorts of life threatening scenarios!
I stand by my comment that Mr Helland is a disgruntled ex-employee who couldn't accept having to work a bit harder than he was used to!
I suggest rather, that Forbruker-Rapporten should turn their attention to the proposed increase in flight time limitations.
Imagine what impact that will have on safety and it won't be limited to one company.
For Pete's sake, guys! I am talking about Mr Eikenes! ("the latter of the two pilots" means the last one of the two pilots you mentioned)
Let me run it by you again:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- All is efficiency in Ryanair. Turn-arounds are only 25 minutes. In this time, the cabin personnel take care of boarding whilst the pilots check the technical condition of the aircraft. Other companies have staff employed to take care of these things. "You can barely stretch your legs. Before you know, it another load of new passengers are in their seats." tells the Norwegian pilot Tore Eikenes to Forbruker-Rapporten.
Scandinavian: I really think it is way out of line to give your personal opinion of named persons on an anonymous forum, based on your experience from working with them. Nail them for their statements in the article, if you disagree with them, but don't provide us with your own home made psychological profile of possible future colleagues. And the fact that you do this anonymously makes it even worse.
And to run this one by you again, the article is critical of Ryanair. The comment to which you refer, in this context , is a complaint that the person in question would actually like more time to stroll around.
I'd like to see that one written into our contracts. "Turnarounds to be extended to include leg-stretching!"
Furthermore, efficiency is made to sound like a crime.
"Other companies have staff employed to take care of these things."
That is to say, "Although we, as pilots, may be qualified and perhaps reasonably expected to carry out an external, pre-flight inspection or some other duty, we consider it below our station and therefore require other, completely superfluous people to be employed for the purpose!"
I do not know the persons in question but Scandinavian's comments were pretty much how I'd pictured them!
Scandinavian didn't tell me that, they did themselves with their participation in the above article.
If you want to bring safety matters to the attention of the regulating authorities it can be done queitly and in confidence through the proper channels.
I believe Mr Eikenes and Mr Helland have essentially now published their resignations from serious commercial aviation.