Ryanair has vehemently rejected claims made in the Channel 4 programme ‘Dispatches’ which it states wrongly impugn and smear its 29-year safety record.

The programme featured anonymous interviews allegedly with pilots working for Ryanair. The interviewees made a number of serious allegations including alleging that Ryanair’s aircrafts frequently fly with minimum fuel and alleging that cockpit voice recordings relating to many serious incidents have disappeared. The interviewees also called on the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), the independent safety regulator for all Irish airlines, to investigate serious concerns they have about the airline’s safety culture.

Ryanair say the programme relies on ‘hearsay claims by anonymous alleged Ryanair pilots’ and ignores evidence provided by both Ryanair and the IAA which disprove these claims. However, one Ryanair pilot who discussed safety concerns on the programme has now been dismissed for ‘gross misconduct’ following a warning by Ryanair after a newspaper interview on the same topic.

A press release published on Ryanair’s website in light of the allegations states that the makers of Dispatches have repeatedly refused Ryanair’s offer of an unedited interview with CEO Michael O’Leary where he offered to address the claims in question. It also refers to the IAA’s recent confirmation that Ryanair’s operations are in fact in full compliance with EU fuel policies and that it is “on a par with the safest airlines in Europe”.

Ryanair has issued defamation proceedings in the High Court against Channel 4 and Blakeway Productions, which produces Dispatches, in an effort to vindicate what it describes as its “industry-leading” safety reputation.