What’s REALLY behind Ryanair’s Pilot problem.

What’s REALLY behind Ryanair’s Pilot problem.


It appears as though Mr O’Leary and his management team were the root cause of the problem. This many have suspected but here I’ll simply explain how.

 Mr O’Leary runs a tight ship. This we have known for a while. Anybody newbie offering an equivalent service at such reduced prices must be shrewd and a bit hardnosed. To do so in an established industry that sees such problems as the airline business is to be admired.

Ryanair; in a little more than 30 years; is now the biggest carrier in Europe (measured by the number of scheduled passengers carried). It offered passengers what they wanted – cheap flights. Unfortunately, they then started to charge for things that most of us need.  But, not all. When visiting my mother regularly I could hop on and off with just hand luggage. Without paying for hold luggage I didn’t have. And, as always everything was covered in their Terms and Conditions. And their Terms and Conditions have things in them that others don’t.

One way in which Mr O’Leary managed such a successful company was by being less easy on his staff. It appears that he may have driven his staff a bit too hard. (perhaps they didn’t read their Terms and Conditions properly either!). It has been alleged that the company refused holidays, even for people’s own weddings!        

The fundamental problem that this has created is the number of hours Ryanair’s pilots have flown. Compared with the “The Irish Aviation Authority” who’s rule state that a pilot cannot fly more than 1,000 hours a year. It appears that by working the pilots, the Ryanair way, the pilots have all clocked up their annual limit – before the end of the year.

One of my fundamental measures of customer service is, how good are they at sorting out problems. Anyone can give good service when the times are good. The reports suggest that Ryanair isn’t so good when the chips are down.  But the question you have to ask yourself is Are they good enough for the price?



“What I suggest we remember, as we cram ourselves into the middle seat of economy, is that airlines have a huge positive social and economic impact on communities – and Ryanair has had more than most.”