RYANAIR’S SECRET TRAINING MISSIONS
Under-fire airline ramps up flights at Scottish airport
Ryanair has been secretly putting would- be pilots through their paces – after cancelling the travel plans of thousands of Scots.
The firm has dramatically ramped up flight training programmes being carried out at Prestwick Airport.
The under- fire carrier was forced to cancel scores of Scots flights after being hit by a pilot shortage.
Now it hopes to boost flight deck numbers with a recruitment push.
Last week The Sunday Post watched as Ryanair put new recruits through their paces at Prestwick Airport, where they made repeated take- offs and landings in Boeing 737s.
Ryanair was accused of “cancelling Christmas” when it axed 18,000 winter flights, affecting 400,000 people.
we were flying with my daughter and partner for our first Christmas in London in three years and also to celebrate my daughter’s second birthday on December 22 with family.”
The young couple, who live in East Kilbride, had to re-book with easyJet, which cost them £100 more than with Ryanair.
Because of the new flight times, Edina and Adrian were forced to take an extra day off work – meaning they’ve missed out on two days’ wages.
Edina said: “It isn’t small change to anyone, but especially not to a young family like mine. With our daughter’s birthday three days before Christmas it is an expensive enough time as it is.”
Tour guide Lisa Sauer, 39, will spend Christmas alone as she now can’t get to her family. She said: “Without the possibility of cheap flights I won’t be able to visit my family for Christmas or have them visit me.”
Lisa, 39, is currently in Salzburg and was worried she’d be stranded there after the cancellations from London to Scotland.
She said: “I’m travelling back to Edinburgh on October 30. London to Edinburgh was my connecting flight from Salzburg.
“The cancellations are a disaster for me. I now will face higher costs or up to 12 hours on a bus if I want to travel.”
In an attempt to soften the blow and save face, the Dublin-based airline has launched a sale on more than one million seats, with tickets selling for as low as £ 9.99 per oneway trip. The offer ends tonight at midnight.
Ryanair is currently advertising 22 pilot vacancies on its website.
The company is hiring direct entry captains, meaning existing first officers with rival airlines can be fast- tracked to the position of captain with Ryanair.
Ryanair said this was “due to extensive growth” but sources admit they need to win back public confidence after the PR disaster.
The Dublin- based carrier says it has offered jobs to more than 650 new pilots, who will join the ranks between now and May 2018.
It also claims to have 2500 pilots on waiting lists.
The Irish carrier has been forced to deal with flight cancellations after miscalculating pilot holiday leave.
The firm said it will fly 25 fewer aircraft between November and March as part of efforts to end a flurry of cancellations that has already seen 2000 flights grounded.
As a result, 34 routes are suspended, including London Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gatwick to Belfast, Newcastle to Faro, and Glasgow to Las Palmas.
The move has added to mounting anger over Ryanair, which has come under heavy fire after recently shelving up to 50 flights every day for six weeks.
The company’s chief executive Michael O’Leary had admited the company “messed up” pilot holiday rosters – but insisted they will compensate passengers let down.
The U- turn will see the airline refund “reasonable” out- of- pocket expenses after being criticised by aviation watchdogs.
The airline, which faced the threat of legal action by the Civil Aviation Authority, said passengers would first be moved to the next available Ryanair flight on the same route.
If that’s not possible, they could take a Ryanair flight from an alternative airport.
If this also fails, they will be offered a flight with easyJet, Jet2, Vueling, CityJet, Aer Lingus, Norwegian or Eurowings.
As a last measure, it could mean customers being offered a rental car or even a rail or bus ticket.
Would-be Ryanair pilots have been practising take-offs and landings in Boeing 737s from Prestwick as chief executive Michael O’Leary, inset, comes under fire