Ryanair: Fuel policy remarks ‘defamatory’

Ryanair says public comments made by pilots’ spokesman Evan Cullen about how its fuel policy allegedly affects its safety practices were defamatory, the High Court has heard.

The airline is suing the Impact trade union and its branch, the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA), along with IALPA president Mr Cullen.

It claims the defamation arose out of comments made by Mr Cullen in an RTÉ News at One interview on Aug 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 Jul 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 the 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.

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

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 defamation action.

The hearing continues.


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