Thursday, February 05, 2004

Ryanair - what was that about subsidies for "pilot training"?

In the wake of the court case between Ryanair and the European Commission, one thing seems to have evaded public attention. Part of the controversial subsidy paid by the government of Wallonie to the much-loved Irish airline was supposedly to fund "pilot training". Funny that. Ryanair are infamous in the trade for a variety of amusing business practices involving trainees and new employees. Perhaps the most offensive is that of charging a £50 fee to examine job applications, although that was trumped when some of the unsuccessful applicants discovered they were being billed again later - ostensibly because their applications had been "reconsidered". Weirdly, only those who had paid by credit card were "reconsidered". Those who are recruited to Ryanair's "sponsorship" scheme to get their type ratings (the additional qualification needed to take command of a specific type of aircraft) are not sponsored in any sense known to the rest of the world - the sponsorship is described as a "self sponsorship", which means that you pay the £10,000 or so out of your own pocket. Had they decided to take the TR off their own bat, they could of course choose their course. Not so this way. That done, the new hires progress to line training - the period of partly on-the-job qualification in the company's own procedures normal in airlines. Although they are providing hours of work to the company, they are paid no salary. A full examination of Ryanair horror-stories would take a whole blog, as they are legion but often unreliable. But - what did they tell the burghers of Wallonia exactly?

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