Ryanair CEO questions the need for the co-pilot – wants to replace them with flight attendants

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary is making the news again. And as usual, the news is controversial and absurd. O’Leary is apparently fed up with paying for two people to fly his planes, and wants to convince safety regulators that one pilot would be more than enough. In a magazine interview, O’Leary had the following to say:

Why does every plane have two pilots? Really, you only need one pilot. Let’s take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it.

When asked what would happen in an emergency, leaving the plane without a pilot, he replied that specially trained flight attendants could assist:

If the pilot has an emergency, he rings the bell, he calls her in. She could take over.

Of course, pilots and their unions are furious, as it tries to paint a picture that planes fly themselves and don’t really need anyone at the controls. A spokesman for the British Airline Pilots Association said:

Are there no lengths to which he will not go to get publicity? His suggestion is unwise, unsafe and the public will be horrified.

After O’Leary made the news with proposals for a paid bathroom, standing room and long haul flights with free oral sex, you almost have to question his sanity. Still, he can’t be all that crazy, as his airline is one of the most profitable in the world. Earlier this year, British Airways took a reverse approach when they retrained some of their pilots to work as flight attendants during a strike.

What do you think? Is this another publicity stunt, or could his airline actually save millions by removing the co-pilot?


[Photo from AFP/Getty]