A Charleroi-based Ryanair pilot writes an open letter to CEO Michael O’Leary, and resigns!


After 16 years with Ryanair, a pilot based at Brussels South Charleroi had enough of that life and wrote an open resignation letter that is worth its weight in gold for its irony. He shared it on his Facebook page and we share it with you:

Charleroi, October 14th, 2017

Michael O’Leary
CEO Ryanair
Airside Business Park

Dear Michael,

Having experienced the bankruptcy of my previous airline in 2001, I promised myself that I would only fly for an airline that was financially in good health, sailing its own independent course and had everything it took to become the European version of Southwest Airlines. I took some time to study the airline industry and my eye instinctively caught Ryanair.

Your study of the Southwest model, rebel spirit, assisting bag loaders and gate staff in the early years were an indication to me that I had found the airline I was looking for. As a loyal employee (14 years flying for Ryanair), I would like to say that it saddens me to witness now that you are being bombarded with negativity from all over the planet while you are the person who made Ryanair one of the biggest players in aviation and brings joy to 120 million people every year, offering jobs to thousands of people supporting their family.

Recently you also mentioned that Ryanair has “the best pilots in the world”. I welcome this as a sign of respect for us.

I also noticed that the last few weeks you have come under continuous attack from unions, other airlines, governments, authorities, employees, press and even passengers. To put it in short: apparently, nobody noticed your positive message. To quote a very wise man: “What a fine mess we’re in !”.

So in order to support your statement that we are “the best pilots in the world”, I will position myself on the free market. While I do not have any employment in view, I am convinced that the notice on my contract will allow me sufficient time to find a job in aviation that suits me and that companies will be interested in hiring me because of the professional attitude I developed by flying for Ryanair. In case you are interested: I am looking for a Company where shareholders and employees have a common goal: taking care of their passengers and each other. Where communication is efficient, dialogue in mutual trust and respect, with a true “no blame” policy, where everybody is able to motivate everybody, where everybody is prepared to put in that extra effort because it is also for their own benefit, and most of all: where a CEO is not a Chief Executive Officer, but a Collector of Excellent Opinions in a Company where everybody is considered to be equally important.

Where a CEO runs his Company like a Captain is in command of his aircraft. Therefore I would like to invite you to follow a type-rating course on the B737-800 and you will discover that our Training Department has laid out the tracks of what I am looking for in how an airline is managed: SOP, QRH, SEP, TEM, KORA, PIOSEE, SOS, CRM modules,… It’s all there! Our Training Department is one of the many reasons why you have the best pilots in the world. And the same goes for our Cabin Crew, Engineers, Bag Loaders, Dispatchers, Check-In Staff, Boarding Staff, Back Office Staff, and so on…. Because we are all people who have the heart in the right place and we believe in this company, but most of all: we believe in ourselves and each other! We all feel deep inside that we have what it takes to make this Company great (again) and reach the top…together!

My only question (and hopefully many other employees’ question) to you is: do you want to be part of this? If so, please let us know before the end of my notice.

I hope you will approve of my decision and even support me in my attempt to prove that you were right about your pilots and all other employees. If there is anything else I can do to help you defend your statement, feel free to let me know.

Best regards,

Philippe Steyaert
Captain B737-800 CRL
cc. : anybody who loves Blue Skies.

I guess Captain Philippe Steyaert will have no problem finding a new job, albeit not in his current home base.


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