Controversial Airline Boss Questions Why Planes Need Co-Pilots

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The outspoken head of budget carrier Ryanair says co-pilots are not necessary on passenger planes and could be eliminated to save money.

"Why does every plane have two pilots? Really, you only need one pilot," says Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. "Let's take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it."

He goes on to say a fight attendant on each plane could be trained to help with landing, in case something goes wrong.

"If the pilot has an emergency, he rings the bell, he calls her in," O'Leary says. "She could take over."

O'Leary has previously suggested adding standing room and charging passengers to use toilets on the Irish carrier's planes. While he says he is serious about both plans, neither has happened.

Jim McAusian, general secretary of the British Pilots' Association, calls O'Leary's proposal to eliminate co-pilots a publicity stunt.

"His suggestion is unwise, unsafe and the public will be horrified," McAusian tells the Telegraph newspaper.

With low fares and added fees in a number of areas, Dublin-based Ryanair is one of the world's most profitable airlines.



Photo, aromano, flickr
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