Belfast Telegraph

Ryanair boss blasted for pilot call

Airline pilots have accused Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary of endangering the safety of passengers with a call to do away with the second pilot on the flight deck of aircraft to save money.

Mr O'Leary claims the second pilot serves no purpose and could be replaced by a stewardesses trained to land planes in an emergency.

His provocative comments were immediately dismissed by the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) as "unwise and unsafe".

One senior pilot predicted that such a move would also prove to be a "recipe for business disaster."

Mr O'Leary, 49, who has headed the no-frills carrier for 17 years, made his comments in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

"Really, you only need one pilot. Let's take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it," he told the publication.

In the event of the lone pilot suffering a heart attack a stewardess trained to land the plane would step in and save the day.

"If the pilot has an emergency, he rings the bell, he calls her in," Mr O'Leary said. "She could take over."

A BALPA spokesman said: "Are there no lengths to which he will not go to get publicity?

"His suggestion is unwise, unsafe and the public will be horrified."

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