Ryanair CEO: Get Rid of Co-pilots to Save Cash

Michael O'Leary is known for his outlandish money-saving ideas

Tuesday, Sep 7, 2010  |  Updated 2:45 PM EDT
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Ryanair CEO: Get Rid of Co-pilots to Save Cash

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Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has a new idea to save money: Get rid of co-pilots on planes.

"Why does every plane have two pilots?" O'Leary, who oversees the largest low-cost airline in Europe, told Bloomberg Businessweek.

"Really, you only need one pilot," he added. "Let's take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it."

And if the captain is incapacitated? Train one of the cabin crew members to land the plane, O'Leary said. "If the pilot has an emergency, he rings the bell, he calls her in," O'Leary told Bloomberg Businessweek.

O'Leary is known for attention-getting ideas to make air travel cheaper, such as charging passengers to use toilets on planes or offering low-cost standing seats. The strategy garners a lot of free publicity for the Dublin, Ireland-based airline.

Jim McAuslan, the general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association, told The Telegraph: “Are there no lengths to which he will not go to get publicity?

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