O'Leary wants co-pilots to be replaced by trained cabin crew
Airline pilots have accused Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary of endangering the safety of passengers after he made a provocative proposal "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 stewardesses trained to land planes in an emergency.
The British Airline Pilots' Association described the comments made in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek magazine as "unwise and unsafe".
A senior pilot, who wished to remain anonymous, criticised the idea, saying: "The public have no wish to be flown at cheap rate into their graves."
In the article, Mr O'Leary wrote: "Really, you only need one pilot. Let's take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it."
Another senior pilot predicted that such a move would also prove to be a "recipe for business disaster".
In a wide-ranging interview Mr O'Leary defended his caustic approach to business.
"If you don't approach air travel with a radical point of view then you get in the same bloody mindset as all the other morons in this industry."
He said that he would like to get rid of two of the three toilets on all short flights so that he can pack in more passengers at lower fares. He would charge €1 to use the remaining toilet.
"In many ways, travel is pleasant and enriching. It's just that the physical process of getting from point A to point B shouldn't be pleasant, nor enriching. It should be quick, efficient, affordable, and safe."
Mr O'Leary insists that he still wants to replace the last 10 rows of seats with a standing-only cabin, fitted with handrails, which he says would lower fares by 20 to 25 per cent.
"The argument against it is if there's ever a crash, people will be injured. If there's a crash, people in the seats will be injured, too."
"The customer is usually wrong. The only time you hear from a customer is when they're usually complaining because they want to break our rules. Bugger off.
"I'm not in it for the pride of how I served mankind. Would I like to see a statue made of me? Absolutely not."
He added that Ryanair had exposed the myth that air travel was some kind of a "uniquely sexual experience".
"It's not. It's just a commoditised way of getting from A to B."