Ryanair safety concerns, are other airlines given the same scrutiny by the media?

Ryanair_Stansted AirportGrowing up in middle Ireland in the mid 1970’s  remembering my pensioner grandfather paying more than £100 pounds to fly to London to see his brother, which was more money that he could afford. Aer Lingus fares continued to rise through the 80’s and 90’s which ironically was owned by the Irish Government. It would appear that the Government could do nothing to control the prices or they way they operated as the unions would threaten to strike and did on many occasions.

So the Irish Government came up with a Irish solution to the problem it granted Ryanair a license to fly the Dublin-London (Luton route) challenging the British Airways and Aer Lingus’ high fare cartel on the Dublin London route. By the time Ryanair operated its first flight in May 1986  the lowest return fare on British Airways/Aer Lingus was £209, Ryanair’s price was £99 return. The not worried about high costs could continue to fly Aer Lingus and the rest could take the bus with wings only that’s not how the story ended.

In Ryanair’s half-year results for 2013 its shows it will carry 48 million passengers flying from over 50 bases in 28 countries across Europe and fly on average 1,500 flights per day on 298 Boeing 737’s,  the average age of a Ryanair plane is 4 years for Aer Lingus its 7 years but you can get all that on their websites. Ryanair’s business model is well-defined it’s a leader in its field just like other market leaders such as McDonalds, Ikea, Macintosh all these companies regularly referred in many college business classes as how it should be done . Bloomberg business week described Ryanair as “the world’s least indebted airline” that’s a major achievement from it’s very humble beginnings at Waterford airport with a single aircraft. But when you are at the top of your game its a love hate relationship with the public and the media.

Perhaps Ryanair is somewhat responsible for creating some of that hatred by itself, it always amuses me when I fly Ryanair say to Edinburgh the ticket will say flying time in 1 hour when we all know its 40-45 minutes. So even allowing for a 10 minute delay getting off at Dublin they can still ahead of their own schedule with enough time to play their “Another Ryanair Flight On Time”. Michael O’Leary is a very shrewd business man he rarely makes a business error but speaking to the press is another matter, it’s like he wants to up the ante all the time. His spats with Europe, Aer Lingus , the unions, Dublin Airport Authority. One story I was told as factual was a visit by Micahel O’Leary to the Boeing plant. O’Leary it was said wish to speak to the Boeing workers on the factory floor but senior Boeing management had their doubts if that was a good idea. O’Leary agreed he would be very brief and not cause any up set. Having finally agreed O’Leary appeared from a gantry where a group of workers were gathered below. There was silence as they waited to hear what he might say. Then the first words to leave O’Leary’s mouth  was  “Fuck Airbus” which generated unexpected laughter and cheering among the workforce. Its a good story and very plausible.

Some of his future proposals for Ryanair such as suggesting  that they would have customers paying to take a trip to the bathroom or vertical seating on short hop flights.

Steve Jobs it is said that he didn’t give the customers what they want  but he created something that they didn’t know they needed. O’Leary is somewhat in that field with a bigger mouth, despite several blogs, websites, books that claim Ryanair is a villain the facts speak louder 48 million passengers would say Ryanair is doing something right. Ryanair’s  fares can be  cheaper if you books early don’t want to check in a case or any of the other extras that the Ryanair website would like you to include then you should get a good deal. I have never had a bad experience flying with Ryanair, I have had issues with their baggage police measuring my cabin baggage but I never ever paid a penalty so far. I have had some interesting debates with my friends about Ryanair. 😉

Very few people question their safety when they get into a car yet one flying incident and its the main news. The plane crash at Cork airport that killed 6 people was shocking and it was blanket coverage for a week, yet in one weekend the same number could be killed on Irish roads yet it hardly gets a mention. Statistics tell us aviation accidents are extremely rare, with the probability of a passenger being killed on a single flight at approximately eight million-to-one. If a passenger boarded a flight at random, once a day, every day, it would statistically be over 21,000 years before he or she would be killed.

The British media really dislike Ryanair  because it does not conform to its conservative upper class view of flying and it has surpassed the monarchy’s  flag carrier British Airways in size and passengers carried. There is nothing wrong with BA but they are now finding they need to change their business model to compete in the 21stcentury.

Ryanair’s  attempt take over of the state carrier Aer Lingus, has got up a lot of people’s noses. Recently Aer Lingus pilots union (ILPA) The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association hit back on the on the main RTE  news highlighting 3 incidents in Spain where Ryanair flights had to divert when running low on fuel unable to land at their designated airport due to sever thunderstorms. What’s interesting was how much airtime RTE devoted to the story before it had been investigated by the Spanish authorities, it was pretty much a non story. Anyone who works in the area of Health & Safety knows there is very strict criteria on recording all major incidents, however that does not mean that there was any wrongdoing, but it does help the authorities make recommendations that can improve future safety.

It’s much easier to get a negative story out than it is good news and cherry picking makes it very easy in today’s social media. So its unlikely this post will get much coverage, one negative comment I can make is  that it is inevitable that Ryanair will have an accident sooner or later, then the naysayers can claim they were right all along.

Ryanair investigated for taking risks by flying with minimum fuel allowance in bid to cut costs

Ryanair incident leaves 16 injured in Gran Canaria to Madrid flight

Ryanair – Budapest – 2012

During its 23-year operating history, Ryanair had not had a single incident involving major injury to a passenger or a member of its flight crew. Two interesting examples to take from the chart below just look at accident rate of Air France and Aer Lingus, I would say most people in a survey would say they would consider both safer to fly with than Ryanair. (Charts relate to fatalities)

Regardless Ryanair has a serious issue on their hands if they take action against websites publishing incorrect information on its safety record they will be seen as attempting to suppress the truth, do nothing and it’s going to their image and sales a lot damage.

So far no incidents involving a Ryanair aircraft has not resulted in any sanctions from the aviation authorities. I wonder how many similar incidents there are involving other airlines and are they given the same scrutiny by the media?

Ryanair have changed the business model for aviation in Europe for ever, provided more regular services and services to places that were before out of reach of most peoples pockets. It operates in a very clear and transparent way and those unhappy with those conditions should simply choose another airline.

© Tom Dowling 2012

Take a look a the chart below.

Airline

Million
Flights

Fatal
Events

Adj. Fatal
Events

Last
Fatal
Accident

Above / Below Average
Accident
Rate

Aer Lingus

0.66

0

0

1968

      -166%  
Aeroflot Russian Airlines

0.84

1

1.00

2008

     +523%
Air Europa

0.56

0

0

None

      -156%
Air France

3.79

2

2.00

2009

     +935% 
Alitalia-Compagnia Aerea

1.84

0

0

(1990)

      -284%
Austrian Airlines

0.46

0

0

(1960)

      -146%
British Airways

2.06

0

0

(1976)

      -306%
British Midland

1.20

0

0

(1989)

      -220%
EasyJet

2.51

0

0

None

      -351%
Finnair

1.11

0

0

(1963)

      -211%
Iberia

1.87

0

0

(1985)

      -287%
Icelandair

0.35

0

0

(1951)

      -135%
JAT Yugoslavian Airways

0.18

0

0

(1973)

      -118%
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

1.90

0

0

1994

      -290%
Lufthansa Airlines

3.99

0

0

1993

      -499%
Malev- Hungarian Airlines

0.45

0

0

(1977)

   -145%

Olympic Air

0.81

0

0          

None

        -181%
RyanAir

3.00

0

0

None

      -400%  
SAS Scandinavian Airlines

2.66

1

0.94

(2008)

     +299%
TAP Air Portugal

0.74

0

0

(1977)

      -174%
Transaero airlines

0.18

0

0

None

      -118%
Turkish Airlines

1.47

1

0.99

(2009)

     +453%
Ukraine Int. Airlines

  0.11

0

0

None

-111%

Virgin Atlantic Airlilnes

0.19

0

0

None

       -119%
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Categories: General Views, Transport

Tags: , , , ,

1 reply

  1. Hi Tom,
    Very interesting post with high support for Ryanair..
    Most of what you have said may be true or not but every business operates to make profit,In Ryanair ‘s case Profit to shareholders( O’Leary and Bonderman large shareholders) being priority at any cost..
    Let us take employees (cabin crew) at Ryanair who are the lowest paid in Europe with the highest TERMINATION rate all paying 3000 euro to train,not rocket science working out why.
    PAYE payments being charged 42% to new recruits outside UK with no refund to employees who are Terminated which makes tidy profit for O’Leary and Bonderman.
    50% of Hourly rate of pay to probationary cabin crew kept by Ryanair;s so called employment agents, Crewlink Ireland and Workforce International,,O’Leary and Bonderman will not give you a free Euro,never mind millions each year being given to agents…
    David Bonderman is the Ryanair chief in case your viewers are not aware and he has lead this exploitation and social dumping of young workers at Ryanair which has lead to suicide.
    Ryanair have a head start on other airlines when they, Ryanair can generate 60 to 100 million euro a year off their own employees,what other European airline act in this way… NONE…..
    At present the probationary ryanair cabin crew members who are contracted to Ryanair through so called agents Crewlink Ireland and Workforce International are 4000…..
    Your viewers may also like to see what these 4 Ryanair pilots think about the Mayday calls Ryanair made in 2012.All in the same day which has NEVER happened before in European aviation history..One record i am sure O’Leary and Bonderman are not happy to hold…

    One last point,Ryanair;s Michael O’Leary has worked hard in getting more free media publicity (all over Europe) than any other airline in Europe in the last 8 years which again gives Ryanair a big advantage in Low cost …

    Next time one books a Ryanair flight a thought for the above would be appreciated..

    Video 1 below…

    http://reporter.kro.nl/seizoenen/2012/afleveringen/28-12-2012/extras/mayday_mayday_-_international_version

    Video 2 below…

    http://reporter.kro.nl/seizoenen/2013/afleveringen/03-01-2013/extras/mayday_mayday_part_2_-_english_version

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