Saturday 24 March 2018

Ryanair suing pilots and union over fuel comments

Evan Cullen, President of the Irish Airline Pilot's Association. Photo: Collins Courts
Evan Cullen, President of the Irish Airline Pilot's Association. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

RYANAIR says public comments made by pilots' spokesman Evan Cullen about how its fuel policy allegedly affects its safety practices were defamatory.

The airline is suing the IMPACT trade union and its branch, the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA), along with IALPA president Mr Cullen, over a radio interview and a newspaper article last year.

It claims, in the High Court, the defamation arose out of comments made by Mr Cullen in an 'RTE News at One' interview on August 16, 2012, and in a 'Sunday Times' article the following month.

The radio interview and newspaper story dealt with claims that the Spanish consumer association had accused Ryanair of jeopardising passenger safety after three of its planes made low-fuel emergency landings on the same day in July 2012 at Valencia airport.


Mr Cullen claimed in the radio interview the pilots involved had to issue Mayday distress calls seeking to land because of low fuel due to an environment in which Ryanair made its pilots feel uncomfortable about taking on extra fuel for a flight.

Ryanair says Mr Cullen used the phrase "Mayday" in its technical sense to give the wrong impression when he knew or should have known it did not apply in those instances and did not reflect the actual situation.

It also claims it was defamed because the broadcast and publication falsely meant the aircraft involved were in imminent danger.

The defendants deny the claims and say the broadcast and article were true in substance and fact.

Yesterday, Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley was asked by Ryanair to order disclosure, or discovery, of documents the defendants have which the airline says it needs for its pending defamation action.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News