AN outspoken pilot faces a costly court battle after being accused of criticising budget airline Ryanair on an internet forum.
Scot Ray Quigley, who was born in Greenock, has been flying commercial aircraft for nearly 20 years, and fears the action may cost him thousands in legal fees.
Mr Quigley is one of around 12 pilots being sued by Ryanair for allegedly questioning the firm’s safety on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network online forum. The firm was described by regulators as one of the safest in Europe, and is set to launch the legal action in Dublin’s High Court in October.
Mr Quigley , who now works for Jet2, fears losing his family home in Lytham St Annes, after being told that the cost of defending himself will be £35,000 but could rise to a six figure sum if he loses the case.
He said: “They could bankrupt me. The settlement could easily be into six figures. I would have to sell the house with the money going to Ryanair.”
According to the 49-year-old pilot, Ryanair had offered to withdraw the libel action if he agreed to make a public apology and remove the comments from the forum.
They also asked that he make a donation to charity, but did not specify an amount.
The pilot, who is married with three children, added: “I cannot do that because there was no monetary value quoted. As I understrand it, if I fail to appear at court on the 14th, the judge will be able to find in Ryanair’s favour.”
A Ryanair spokesperson said that they could not comment on pending cases but added: “The IAA has already confirmed that Ryanair’s safety is ‘on par with the safest airlines in Europe’.”