SMN, Your comments re fuel sound very reasonable. I was lucky to fly for BA, GF and Cathay in none of which I heard of an extra fuel interview. In fact, in Cathay, I once asked, and the boss said "Yes, we do keep a fuel league table and you are close to the bottom (take most extra) but that's for interest. We'd never have mentioned it if you hadn't asked. Whatever makes the commander comfortable is OK with us."
Last edited by Basil; 28th Dec 2012 at 21:46.
Reason: English construction
''Ryanair are simply not flying around with less fuel than is required by law, wth all the anti Ryanair publicity doing the rounds do you think that the authority's within EASA are not going to check ? my guess is that the authorities are doing regular ramp checks and finding that Ryanair are within the regulations.......Just !''
The minimums are just that - the minimum fuel required to complete the task within the regulations. The problem is that these minimums have become the targets for many airline managers - just like the FTLs. If the minimum becomes the norm and saftey is compromised then it's time for the authorities to grow some balls and raise the minimums. Low cost (cheap) operators will complain, but if it's seen that they can't adequately regulate their own operation within common sense parameters then they only have themselves to blame.
The problem is not the amount of fuel they carry. That is probably within legal limits.
It is about the culture of fear in the company that causes pilots not to report irregularities for fear of repercussions.
I saw the TV report. shocking revelations. This morning here in the Netherlands, the government secretary for aviation is demanding an explanation from her Irish counterpart regarding these allegations. To be continued.
I read a memo from my association about T&C's at Ryanair which differ from what you claim since you would seem to belong to a small minority. I read that over 70% of the pilots are contractors, either self employed or forced to setup their own ltd company. The document says that these setups are often placing the pilots into an illegal status from a tax,social security and law perspective depending on which country they are based in and resident. The 5/4 roster is only applied to old bases and all new ones have a 5/3 summer pattern which makes commuting very difficult for the majority of pilots since very few get to be based where they wish. Some pilots don't have a base at all and are commuting across Europe during their off days at their own expense to reach the weekly assigned airport where they operate from. Holidays only get granted during winter months. Everyone pays for HOTAC and transport to/from recurrent training. Salaries reduce if you upgrade to captain or change base. There is no basic salary paid and no guarantee for a minimum wage since they only get paid by the hour flown. There is no pension scheme nor sick pay in place. There is no pilot representation at all and there are no negotiations when it comes to contractual issues.
It sounds very strange to hear such different things about the same outfit but I'm sure the above must be very close to reality otherwise the lazy guys at my association wouldn't have wasted their time in producing it.
Its still the airline that people with low hours want to join (there is no one else) to get hours in order to get out and join another airline, FR is not a career airline.
There is fear, especially from the insecure, I know of a guy recently who uttered the word NO to his base Capt (It was his choice to say yes or no to the question posed) the next roster reflected his base Capt pleasure, a month on the Russian front line mainly standby away from his less than 2 month old Son in Southern Spain, are FR doing anything wrong or illegal ? no of course not, are they behaving like a caring employer, no of course not, do they give a stuff, no of course not!
Eventually the management (i use the word loosely) will push someone over the edge, i just hope they are not alone in the flight deck upstairs at the time.
I think the fuel issue at Valencia is a red herring, I'm sure they all had extra fuel but the weather was worse than expected and when things start going wrong in Spain (ATC) a sensible amount of extra fuel is suddenly not enough
Payment by the hour, self employed, no sick pay no holiday pay, but actually employed (i.e. only working for one company, wearing said company uniform, at the behest of one company) is not self employed and everything to do with lowering employment costs, simples....if FR or its employee's are not paying the correct amount of tax & social insurance they should have their feet put to the fire in the same way that Starbucks and other have in the UK.
The problem with that is that the punters don't give a stuff, Ryanairs problems start and stop at the top, the employee's, for that's what they are, are by and large good people and a significant number are embarrassed by the antics of their clown of a boss, ah but he's very successful isn't he?? NO he isn't he cynically exploits his customer, the authorities, airports and of course his mainly loyal employee's.
The UK banking industry was also (RBS) held up as a shining example of corporate success. The only circumstance under which i now fly FR is if my employer says i must, its not for no reason that there are endless threads about Ryanair on PPRuNe and isn't about a success story, it might be safe, it might be cheap?, it might be on time, but the story time and time again is about exploitation,fear,intimidation,bullying, not words you normally equate to a success story ??
You talk of being forced to be a contractor but for some individuals this is an advantage, job related expenses can be set against tax, their is no problem with the social taxes as long as you pay them and from my experience the job security is about the same as being employed............... Next to nil !
I was employed by Debonair, XL & Viking and lost my job overnight and what did I get for all the tax that had been taken from me under the governments PAYE program ? A few thousand pounds in a lump sum some months later and £52 per week........ Some reward for the 40% tax that they stole from my pay without giving me any real alllowance for work related expenses.
Needless to say I did not even bother with the unemployment pay, I got out he big red toolbox and went back to fixing aircraft were I could make a weeks unemployment benifit (benifit ????!!!!) before tea brake on day one.
Employment is not the answer to all the ills of working in the airlines, it won't give you job security, it is just an excuse for the government to dip into your pay and take what ever they wish......... And give very little back when you find yourself out of work.
We all know that Ryanair are the very worst airline to work for so why do it ? If the pilots voted with their feet the RYR management would have to improve the T&C'S.
Now lets get back to the fuel issue, it is clear that RYR always have the legal minimum fuel when they leave the gate and as far as I can see only one RYR aircraft landed below final reserve fuel and the fact that the other RYR aircraft declared an emergency seems to indicate the need to impress on ATC the seriousness of the unfolding situation.
Perhaps some who have more knowlage of ths incident would like to comment on the rumour that one RYR aircraft was kept in the hold dispite requests for a diversion for so long that the captain had to tell ATC that he was compelled to take up a heading to the diversion airfield without ATC clearance.
it is not an issue of personal convenience as in your case, it is about the legal status of the majority of our colleagues in Ryanair and alikes. I am not a Southern European resident nor citizen and in my northern European country these practices are called "disguised self employment" for the purpose of tax and social security evasion and are the cause of unfair competition that can lead , in extreme cases, to the bankruptcy of the competitors who play by the rules and becomes a social cost in a country where the tax payers have to pay unemployment benefits to their fellow citizens who unfairly lost their jobs.
In my country it is also illegal to have people pay to get a job when there are unemployed professionals on the market and Ryanair doesn't even give these unemployed pilots the chance of an interview, but they claim to be Irish and don't care about the local laws. Funny however how they love to exploit the profit opportunity this country offers them.
The reality in Ryanair is that both of your stories are correct!
Being a Ryanair employee myself I can agree with a lot of what Say Mach Number has written, however I have to say that when time came around that we had to "negotiate" a new deal, there was NO negotiating, it was take it or leave it!
Working with and being friend of a lot of contractors I have a pretty good idea what is happening to them and most of it is like you have mentioned Maybepilot!
So yes unfortunately there is a big difference in many aspects between a Ryanair employee and a contractor.
Being so that more than 70% of the pilots are contractors one can understand why so many are frustrated with their conditions, and I am afraid that because of this frustration and the inability to bring about any change in their working conditions up to now, some have decided to speak out against the Ryanair fuel policy (which is equal to any other european company) and bring this in relation ship with the bullying culture within the company.
I have always taken extra fuel with me if I felt for whatever reason that it was necessary, I have never been questioned by the base captain or company by doing so, but having said this I do strongly believe that the monthly published fuel league is WRONG and should not be published at all!
Some of us are sick to death of of those inside Ryanair constantly telling us how bad it is. It is for you and the other usual suspects to stand up together and get union membership organized or vote with your feet and find another job.
You are all very keen on playing the poor oppressed pilots while hiding behind a user name on this forum but untill you lot get some backbone and stand up for what you say is right nothing will change.
Back to the topic! Two KLM skippers were criticising Fr's fuel policy whilst on that 26th of July one of the many aircraft not having extra fuel was... KLM... I was in the hold over MAD when KLM checked in: "MAD app the KLM XXX level YYY position ZZZ, whe have 10 min extra fuel request expected approach time". When ATC was unable to give them an answer they diverted to, J think, BCN. If that night there would have been any holding at BCN they would have been in exactly the same situation as the Ryans in VLC Do you guys think Spanish ATC was as good and helpfull as the ATC guy was telling?
The real problem is too many pilots chasing too few jobs thereby allowing the likes of Ryanair to dictate term to you, ie. take it or leave it................................... perhaps you should campaign to get the retirement age reduced to 60 thus reducing the number of pilots available......................oh wait a minute it's only recently gone up from there.
This is about fuel planning. It is the same in every airline (9) I've worked for and in 4 different countries. They want you to minimise cost, and that is sensible. However, it is also sensible to educate your crews how to make a sensible fuel plan. Here is where some companies differ. In many there was a free fuel overload amount, and more than that was only with a reason. This was also true with friends in national carriers. Fuel is a crew thing and an educational moment for the apprentice flying with you. Sadly I often found no understanding of how to make a realistic fuel plan. Sometimes it was minimum e.g. a multi rwy airport in CAVOK with an ALTN less than the minimum diversion fuel, but the F/O wanted to take the freebie amount. Why? Then in dodgy conditions all around they wanted to take the freebie and 200kgs (just a bit) more. I made the calculation of Hold, G/A, 2nd approach, negotiate with ATC (non-radar) for a diversion clearance, and then divert to arrive with 45mins due to others doing the same as there was only 1 ALTN. Additional fuel was 1 hour. "Wow, are we allowed to do that?" "It's what we're paid for, son." There are now captains with only 4 years total experience in only 1 airline. They know only the culture of that airline, and if it is one of intimidation there is only one result. There will be times when fuel calculations will not be sensible, but if they've never been trained nor seen it done properly then their apprenticeship will have been in vain. However, they will always be legal: sensible? That's another story.
A very good post about fuel planning and when I worked for XL airways the company worked hard to get the fuel flight plans adjusted for individual aircraft.
This gave the crews very reliable information that they could base the fuel uplift on. There was no fuel policy apart from trying to carry as little as you could for economy and as much as you needed for safety.
When the pilots became confident in the fuel planning system the result was that few people just added fuel "to be sure" it always became a properly considered decision on what was the appropriate fuel load for that flight.
multi rwy airport in CAVOK with an ALTN less than the minimum diversion fuel
Much like LHR when BAW38 landed short. Suddenly you do not have multi-runway airport, you have a closed airport with fire Cat 0 and more diversions than the nearby diversions can take or Japan in 2011 when a whole country closed. Where do you go then? It is thoroughly unpleasant to be able to give no special handling to the diversion Pans and Maydays because there are so many of them. I expect it is even less pleasant to be one of them. One day an event will leave us with less available landing runway than aircraft needing them.