Ryanair, Channel 4’s Dispatches and the lawsuit

Written by JessicaCrisp

A legal battle looks set to rage after Ryanair has announced it will be seeking legal action against Channel 4’s Dispatches programme as well as against a former pilot.

A legal battle looks set to rage after Ryanair has announced it will be seeking legal action against Channel 4’s Dispatches programme as well as against a former pilot.

The low-cost airline is set to sue the Dispatches documentary titled Ryanair: Secrets from the cockpit, which raised safety concerns, specifically regarding the airline’s fuel policy.

Issue legal proceedings

“Ryanair has instructed its lawyers to issue legal proceedings against Channel 4 Dispatches for defamation and Ryanair looks forward to this matter being resolved in the courts and the safety of Ryanair’s operations being thoroughly vindicated,” said a Ryanair spokesman.

The program, renowned for its in-depth, balanced analyses, looked at three incidents during which Ryanair pilots had to send mayday alerts because they were low on fuel.

Ryanair responded by saying the aircraft all complied with EU regulations and the incidents were just a result of bad weather.

Dispatches unfair and inaccurate

Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, has previously said that he believes the Dispatches programme to be unfair and inaccurate, claiming it is an attempt by European pilot unions and its competitors to smear Ryanair, reported The Guardian.

Ryanair has also sacked long standing airline pilot John Goss and issued legal proceedings against him after he appeared in the documentary.

Goss is a member of the interim council of the Ryanair Pilot Group (RPG) which has been pressing the no-frills carrier to engage with safety issues.

Ryanair refused to engage with RPG

But Ryanair has refused to engage with the RPG and says its safety records are unblemished, a claim supported by the Irish Aviation Authority.

The Dispatches programme also detailed a survey undertaken by the RPG which revealed safety concerns among 1,000 pilots. Almost 90% claimed the company’s safety culture was ‘non-transparent’ while two-thirds said they felt uncomfortable raising their safety concerns.

The airline said in an official statement: “We will not allow a Ryanair employee to defame our safety on national television just three weeks after he confirmed in writing to Ryanair that he had no concerns with safety and no reason to make any confidential safety report to either the IAA (Irish Aviation Authority) or Ryanair.”

“Ryanair rejected the false and defamatory claims made by the Channel 4 Dispatches programme which wrongly impugn and smear Ryanair’s outstanding 29-year safety record based on nothing more than anonymous hearsay claims made by individuals whose identity was concealed,” it added in a separate statement.

We stand by our journalism

The RPG is understood to be considering legal action following Ryanair’s comments made in relation to the group following the program.

When approached by Kettle, Channel 4 said at this moment they are not going beyond their statement: “we stand by our journalism and will robustly defend proceedings.”

Twitter users have begun tweeting in support of the pilot under the hashtag #SupportJohnGoss.

Tweets include:

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