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Dublin: 12°C Tuesday 28 September 2021

Ryanair to sue Channel 4 over Dispatches programme on pilots and safety

A strongly worded statement from Ryanair this evening refuted what they described as “false and defamatory claims”.

RYANAIR CLAIMS TO have instructed its lawyers to issue legal proceedings against Channel 4 Dispatches following the airing of a programme questioning the airline’s safety.

A strongly worded statement from Ryanair this evening has refuted what they described as “false and defamatory claims” by Dispatches in the documentary ‘Ryanair: Secrets from the Cockpit’.

The Irish airline says it “looks forward to this matter being resolved in the courts”.

“Ryanair rejects these failed attempts by C4 Dispatches and/or European pilot trade unions to denigrate or smear Ryanair’s outstanding 29 year safety record in an attempt to promote their 20 year failed campaign to obtain union recognition in Ryanair,” said Ryanair’s spokesperson, Robin Kiely.

The airline has also released the entire exchange of correspondence with Channel 4 Dispatches.


The Dispatches programme revealed that more than 90 per cent of pilots surveyed believe Irish and European aviation authorities should investigate the impact of employment practices on safety.

In addition, just over two thirds of the 1,000 captains and first officers who took part in the survey, commissioned by The Ryanair Pilot Group, said they did not feel comfortable raising safety-related issues through Ryanair’s own internal systems.

Unedited interview

However, Ryanair said Channel 4 Dispatches repeatedly refused offers of an “unedited interview with CEO Michael O’Leary”.

“Dispatches would only interview Michael O’Leary if they could edit his answers, which was not fair or acceptable to Ryanair,” the statement read.

The airline said it provided Dispatches with a short statement rejecting the claims, however, they failed to report it in its “unedited form”.

The Dispatches programme – Ryanair: Secrets from the Cockpit – aired tonight at 8pm on Channel 4, and will be available thereafter on 40D.

Related: Ryanair pilots reveal serious concerns about passenger safety>

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Amy Croffey

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