herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Irish Aviation Authority launches investigation after passengers enter cockpit of Ryanair flight

Ryanair filer
Ryanair filer

THE Irish Aviation Authority has launched an investigation after two passengers were allowed access to the cockpit of a Ryanair flight.

The passengers were off-duty Ryanair crew members.

In a statement to Independent.ie this evening, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said:

“In general, access to the cockpit is restricted to operational staff, including staff passengers, unless they are known to the commander and are invited to have access to the cockpit.

“The IAA is currently investigating the incident in question.

A Ryanair spokesperson told Independent.ie that the airline has already carried out an investigation into the incident.

The incident came to light after an Irish passenger, Bridget, told Independent.ie how the two women were permitted access to the cockpit of a plane bound for Germany on Friday.

Bridget and her husband Patrick became alarmed when they witnessed the two passengers - who they had seen drinking earlier in Dublin Airport - leave the vicinity of the cockpit and return to their seats near the back of the plane during the flight.

They claim the pair returned to the cockpit again for landing.

Ryanair later confirmed that after an investigation it found three off duty employees had been travelling on the flight to Berlin.

Bridget and her husband departed Dublin at 2.30pm on a Ryanair flight to Schoenefeld airport, Berlin, last Friday.

“The plane had taken off and we saw them coming out of the cockpit when we were in the air,” Bridget told independent.ie.

“They couldn’t have been in the toilets. The air hostesses check the toilets when you’re ascending and they have to make sure everything is locked.

“My husband noticed them and said ‘those girls are coming out of the cockpit’.

“Later, when the captain said ‘we’re getting ready to descend’, the two girls went back up. They were laughing and giggling and taking photos of each other,” she added.

Bridget said the two women were wearing tags around their necks but they were not in uniform.

“With things being so strict since the Alps crash, I don’t think this should be allowed," she continued.

“The two of them had a tag around their neck that you’d wear if you were staff or something. But at the same time I don’t think they should have been there.

“Years ago, you could get the kids up to see the captain in the cockpit but now, no one should be allowed up there during a flight.”

Robin Kiely, head of communications at Ryanair, said the company has investigated the matter.

"These were three Ryanair employees travelling off duty," the airline said.

"All three were wearing their Ryanair ID and were known to the flight crew. Following the investigation the matter is now closed."

The airline refused to comment on its policy for passengers, including off-duty staff, being in the cockpit.

Ryanair also would not confirm if any staff involved would be disciplined.

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