Data released last week by UK air navigation service provider NATS appears to strengthen Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair in its ongoing campaign to refute accusations that its pilots are subject to undue operational pressure. The NATS data showed that while the all-airline average of carriers whose crews were responsible for altitude busts in Europe as a whole was approximately 6.71 per 100,000 movements, Ryanair pilots busted assigned altitudes only 0.94 times per 100,000 movements.
On callsign confusion issues, Ryanair pilots were named 3.73 times per 100,000 movements against the industry average of 4.58.
Data for non-compliance with ATC instructions showed Ryanair pilots were cited 0.93 times per 100,000 movements against the industry average of 1.78.
Ryanair has been the center of a safety controversy over a number of flights that allegedly arrived at destinations with minimum amounts of fuel. The airline’s safety practices were also called into question by a UK TV documentary, Secrets from the Cockpit, which ran August 12 featuring a number of Ryanair pilots talking about safety issues at the company. One Ryanair pilot has already been fired for his participation in the documentary.
The Irish Airline Pilots Association has called for an investigation of the Irish Aviation Authority, claiming the government is not taking pilot concerns over safety seriously.Ryanair is currently a non-union airline, although some pilots are attempting to form one.