Ryanair chief pilot sacked for ‘unacceptable behaviour’ towards female pilots

Exclusive: Aidan Murray has been accused of ‘a pattern of repeated inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour’

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 14 June 2023 16:34 BST
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File picture of Aidan Murray, 58, who has been dismissed by Ryanair
File picture of Aidan Murray, 58, who has been dismissed by Ryanair (Ryanair)

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Ryanair has dismissed its chief pilot for what is alleged to be “a pattern of repeated inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour towards a number of female junior pilots”.

Aidan Murray, 58, had been with the Irish airline for 28 years. He was appointed to the most senior and powerful job in flight operations in 2020.

The Independent understands that an anonymous complaint was received late last month about inappropriate behaviour, and was followed by further reports from eight other female Ryanair flight crew of alleged unwanted approaches.

An investigation revealed a pattern whereby Mr Murray had swapped rosters in order to fly with certain female pilots. He is also alleged to have sent inappropriate text messages.

Murray has been accused of ‘a pattern of repeated inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour’
Murray has been accused of ‘a pattern of repeated inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour’ (Ryanair)

The decision to sack the chief pilot was taken on Tuesday evening.

Mr Murray allegedly wrote messages to women saying that they “had an amazing body” and an “amazing ass”.

Staff at Ryanair DAC, the Dublin-based main unit of the airline, were told in a message this morning about an investigation into Mr Murray’s conduct.

They were told the chief pilot was “in breach of our anti-harassment policy” for “a pattern of repeated inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour towards a number of female junior pilots”.

The internal statement added: “We are determined to ensure that all our people can come to work in a safe and secure environment.

“We would ask all of you to respect the privacy and integrity of those brave individuals who came forward to assist us in this investigation.”

In a public statement, a Ryanair spokesperson said: “We do not comment on queries relating to individual employees.”

The Independent has sought to contact Mr Murray for comment but he has yet to respond.

Ryanair’s Code of Business Conduct & Ethics says: “The working environment created by Ryanair promotes equal employment opportunities and prohibits discriminatory practices, including harassment (sexual, physical or verbal).”

It adds: “All concerns, questions, and complaints will be taken seriously and handled promptly, confidentially and professionally.”

The code of conduct also says: “Ryanair encourages people who have concerns about suspected serious misconduct or any breach or suspected breach of law to come forward and express these concerns without fear of punishment or unfair treatment.

“All allegations of wrongdoing will be addressed in line with the appropriate policy and where appropriate, thoroughly investigated.”

The Independent believes an appeals process forms part of any disciplinary procedure.

There is no suggestion that safety was compromised at any stage.

Ryanair is Europe’s biggest airline in terms of passenger numbers. Its largest base is at London Stansted.

According to the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa), female pilots make up only 6 per cent of the total flight crew worldwide. The pilots’ union is campaigning for more diversity on the flight deck, and has enlisted UK government support.

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