Ryanair have admitted that their latest cost-cutting measure, planes without pilots, has not been a complete success.
The airline, famed for its no-frills stance, with optional extras generally costing more than the actual ticket, had been attempting to reduce the cost of flying by not having pilots in the cockpit, but this has turned out to be a step too far.
“It’s terrible,” CEO Michael O’Leary said. “This should have been the ultimate cost-cutting measure. If this had worked, we could have sacked all the pilots and brought the cost of flying down to unprecedented levels of economy. But it didn’t.”
Considering that a pilot would be regarded by most as a necessity rather than a frill, this actually makes sense. O’Leary, however, disagrees.
“It’s the computer’s fault,” he insisted. “I blame Bill Gates for this. He and his Silicon Valley boys haven’t made enough progress on a computer that can fly a plane from runway to runway without need for a pilot.”
O’Leary may not think of a pilot as a necessity, but his customers certainly do.
“Of course you need a pilot!” exclaimed one Mrs Grace L. Ferguson. “I don’t trust a computer to fly a plane. Never have, never will.”
Another disgruntled passenger, a Mr Bosco Baracus, had this to say:
“There are corners you can cut, and corners you can’t cut. And this one you definitely can’t. If you ain’t got a pilot in that cockpit, I ain’t gettin’ on no plane. I’d sooner have a lunatic flyin’ than nobody at all. And believe me, I know some crazy pilots – well, one, anyway. But even he’s better than nothin’.”
Another passenger, name of Robert Newhart, put it simply:
“No pilot, no flight. It’s that obvious.”
It is indeed, but what is blindingly obvious to everyone else is rarely so to the person who ought to be doing it. And O’Leary is no exception.
“Look,” he said. “We’re gonna make this work. We’ve been bringing down the cost of flying for years. And as soon as those so-called geniuses invent a computer that can fly a plane, then I’ll be making all my pilots redundant.”
And probably most of the passengers as well, leaving him nothing but a giant model aeroplane set to play with. Let’s hope he knows how to pilot it by remote control.