In a bid to alleviate the current industrial action by its pilots, Irish budget airline and all-round slaughterhouse wagon Ryanair has announced that it has employed legendary air ace, James ‘Biggles’ Bigglesworth to fly its Costa del Sol route. CEO Michael O’Leary told Flight International Magazine: ‘I’m delighted to have signed Biggles. He’s a damn fine chap, so they tell me, and he’ll be working round the clock to ensure our customers are still able to get off to their well-deserved holiday destinations on time without hold-ups.’
However, when questioned further, O’Leary became coy about rumours circulating within the travel industry that prices are to be hiked by more than 50% for flights with Biggles at the controls. ‘Ah sure lookit now, we’ll just have to see,’ he said non-committally as his eyes darted around excitedly and he blew on his finger nails. ‘But ye have to understand now, some of our senior pilots are earning more than £30,000 a year. We’re not a charity, you know.’
A spokesman for BALPA told reporters: ‘We take a dim view of Biggles’ strike-breaking. It’s a jolly bad show, and believe me we would very definitely be revoking his flying licence if it was not for the fact that he’s a fictional character.’ Nevertheless, as the argument rages, on the air ace is expected to take to the skies almost immediately along with trusty companions Algy, Ginger and Smyth who have also been lined up to assume duties as co-pilot and cabin crew and join him for some wizard prangs dodging the filthy Hun from Germanwings as they fly the 12.50 from Gatwick to Malaga.
Meanwhile the Civil Aviation Authority has added a note of caution. ‘Whereas Biggles is an icon, a much-loved war hero and a great pilot, nevertheless it’s imperative that he refrains from engaging other airlines in dog fights or performing victory rolls when landing,’ warned spokesman Erich von Stalhein. ‘And mutual masturbation in the cockpit is completely out, whatever subtexts you might care to read into the stories about him.’
‘Unless, the customers are willing to pay £5 to watch,’ O’Leary said.