Airline pilots have accused Ryanair's Michael O'Leary of endangering passengers' safety after he called for co-pilots to be replaced with air stewardesses.
Dismissing the vital role of second pilots, Mr O'Leary suggested money could be saved by getting rid of them all together.
If the pilot were to run into problems he suggested an air stewardess, trained to land the plane, could step in.
However, his flippant comments have led to outcry among pilots, who claim the decision would put passengers' lives at risk.
The British Airline Pilots' Association said the move would be "unwise and unsafe" with one senior pilot going as far as to say it would be a "recipe for business disaster."
The Ryanair boss, who has headed the airline for 17 years, made the comments in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.
"Really, you only need one pilot. Let's take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it," he said.
"If the pilot has an emergency, he rings the bell, he calls her in, she could take over."
A BALPA spokesman condemned the comments, saying: "Are there no lengths to which he will not go to get publicity?
"His suggestion is unwise, unsafe and the public will be horrified."
A senior pilot, who wished to remain anonymous, also criticised the move, saying: "The public have no wish to be flown at cheap rate into their graves."
He said that although Mr O'Leary may think "he will be laughing all the way to the bank", he would in fact see a worried public "desert him".
"In reality, it would be a recipe for business disaster, with the public deserting the airline in droves."
This is not the first time the Ryanair boss has landed himself in hot water with controversial comments, deigned to create maximum publicity for the airline.
Mr O'Leary has already suggested the airline reduce the number of toilets on board and make them coin operated to bring in more money.
He also put forward plans for stand-up space on flights, an idea that was rubbished by the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Ryanair considers removing co-pilots to save money, says stewardesses can emergency land planes.
Ryanair is dangerously insane. From Orange: