Ryanair record on safety under scrutiny
on 18/09/2012 00:00:00
The low-cost airline has denied all accusations of taking risks with their flights and point out that the number of emergency landings has been very small in relation to the more than 1,500 flights they make daily.
However, Spanish authorities say they are investig-ating several forced landings, including two at the weekend.
A senior transport official, Rafael Catala, said the Spanish authorities have requested an immediate meeting with the European transport commissioner, Siim Kallas, and with the Irish aviation authorities, to discuss Ryanair.
Helen Kearns said Mr Kallas expected the authorities in both countries would carry out their own investigations into the incidents.
"If they wish us to become involved and facilitate their investigation, we are very happy to do so."
On Sunday, a Ryanair plane made an emergency landing in Madrid on its way from Paris to Tenerife, blaming a "small technical problem".
Turbulence forced a flight from the German city of Dusseldorf to Palma de Mallorca to make an unscheduled stop in Barcelona, where two crew members and a passenger were treated for minor injuries.
Last weekend, a flight from Bristol to Reus in the north of Spain made an emergency landing in Barcelona because of engine problems. Earlier this month, a flight from Madrid to Gran Canaria returned to Madrid after oxygen masks automatically dropped shortly after take-off.
In July, the airline was reported as making three emergency landings in Valencia in the east of Spain because they were running short of fuel. Ryanair said the flights had been diverted from Madrid because of bad weather and had to circle above the city for some time when they requested permission ahead of some in the queue.
The company, which carried a record number of 25m passengers over the three summer months, said some of the unplanned landings showed how seriously it took safety. Just 10 of its 152,000 flights were cancelled and 93% landed on time.
Last week, the company's chief executive Michael O'Leary accused Spanish authorities of releasing false information about the airline's safety.
The Spanish public works minister, Ana Pastor, was quoted last week as wanting the EU to co-operate in having tougher penalties for airlines that do not meet safety requirement. She was quoted as saying: "low cost is fine, but what we cannot have is low safety".