Low Cost Airline Ethics Audit

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Done By Hemanth Mutthukrushnun

This is an ‘Ethics Audit Report’ prepared based on the operations of Ryan Air studied from various videos available on You Tube and the public documents disclosed by Ryanair.

Set up in the year 1985 at a capital of 1 pound with a staff strength of 25, Ryanair is today the World’s favourite and most commonly used airline which operates more than 1,400 flights per day from 44 bases and 1100+ low fare routes across 27 countries, connecting 160 destinations. Ryanair operates a fleet of 250 new Boeing 737-800 aircraft and is expected to increase it by another 64 in 2 years. Ryanair currently has staff strength of more than 8,000 people. Its passenger base has been increasing exponentially over the last 15 years. It carried around 70 million passengers last year with profits of about 20 million pounds. It expects to carry approximately 73.5 million passengers in the current fiscal year.

The primary reason for it being able to achieve such huge profits despite its low cost is because of the number of customers who prefer to use the airline due to the cheap fares and the quick turnaround time of 25 minutes. By maximizing the time duration for which the flight is in air, Ryan Air is able to make more trips with the available fleet. It also avoids renting covered staircases in airports thereby reducing costs on the same. It does not offer facilities such as reclining seats and personal pouches thereby reducing the weight of the airline, hence reducing fuel consumption. It also made a master move soon after the 9/11 attacks by procuring cheap aircrafts from Boeing. It was a time when air travel was presumed to be dangerous and airlines were weary of procuring more aircrafts. Ryan Air struck the nail right on its head by making a decision to go for more aircrafts at a cheap rate and ended up making huge profits.

However, not all is well with the way Ryan Air is operating and making its profits. We will take a look at the various ethical issues in the way Ryan Air is currently operating and come up with recommendations in such a way that Ryan Air does not have to compromise much on its key operating procedures highlighted in the previous paragraph that are enabling it make huge profits.


Recruitment Policy
The cabin crew Ryan Air recruited were predominantly young with no prior work experience. This was done mainly in order to keep their salaries low. It also gave the airline the cushion to collect 1400 pounds for training charges and 25 pounds for uniform charges from the fresh recruits thereby increasing its revenues.

Ryan Air works with less number of pilots than actually required to carry out the scale of operations as they do. The pilots who are hired are also not full time employees of Ryan Air. Instead, they are hired from third party agencies so as to minimize costs.

The number of cabin crew members they have are not enough either. So they issue temporary passes to trainees and send them on board. On an average, half the cabin crew of Ryan Air are temporary pass holders.

Training Procedures
Though Ryan Air collects a heavy sum from the recruits for training them, the training provided is well below standards. The training is mostly theoretical with just about 2 hours allocated to practical training in the 5 week training program. Ryan Air managers feel they cannot afford to dedicate aircrafts for training purposes.

Even during the course of the training program, the crew members are advised to take the help of able bodied passengers during emergencies. The trainers are themselves unsure about the safety procedures. In fact, they are of the notion that seat number 1A is not a safe place to sit as a piece of metal piece sticks out from near it so as to attach the handrail to the stairs during emergency, which could cause head injuries to passengers. The worst part is that the cabin crew are instructed not to make...
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