The Sunday Times has paid out “substantial damages” and apologised to Ryanair for an article published in September last year in which it alleged that the airline had broken safety rules on 1,201 occasions.
Yesterday’s paper carried a lengthy apology on page 2 of its travel section (rather than in the main section), as shown here.
It stated that the September story, headlined “Ryanair accused of 1,201 safety violations”, claimed to have been based on a leaked report from the Spanish air safety agency (AESA).
This was alleged to have said that Ryanair planes broke safety rules 1,201 times in Spanish airspace in the first six months of 2012.
But the paper said: “We now accept that this was incorrect; there was no such report and Ryanair did not commit 1,201 breaches of safety rules.” It continued:
“In the same article we also reported three emergency landings that arose due to bad weather diversions from Madrid to Valencia on July 26, 2012. The article described these flights as having insufficient fuel to remain in holding patterns and reported claims that Ryanair was routinely abusing the mayday protocol to jump landing queues.
We accept that all these allegations were untrue and apologise to Ryanair for the damage caused by this article.
We accept the Irish Aviation Authority’s assurance that Ryanair’s safety is ‘on a par with the safest airlines in Europe.’”
The Sunday Times said the damages payable to Ryanair will, at the company’s request, be paid to an Irish-based charity, The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation.