Ryanair's Chief Executive Michael O'Leary has dismissed claims that his airline is risking more emergency landings because pilots are not being allowed to carry sufficient fuel.
Three Ryanair planes had to make emergency landings in Valencia in July when fuel was low but in an interview with HARDTalk, Mr O'Leary said that his airline complied fully with EU rules on fuel and that claims made by an anonymously quoted pilot that there could be more emergency landings were "lies".
O'Leary claimed that his airline had only had to make three emergency landings in the past 18 months out of a total of over a million flights, adding that although such landings are not commonplace, they are not unheard of either. He also blamed "very difficult" weather conditions in Madrid on the day in question for the emergency landings in Valencia.
He went on to say that Ryanair's fuel policy had been assessed by an independent body, which had confirmed that it complies with all European fuel regulations.
When pressed about the airline's continual and incessant cost-cutting exercise, O'Leary denied that was the case, saying that he would not have invested over nine billion euros in putting together Europe's youngest and most up-to-date fleet or in establishing six maintenance facilities around Europe, if his only intention was to shave costs.
"Ryanair's safety record," he concluded, "is on a par with the safest airlines in Europe. Not the average, but the safest."