THE RYANAIR cabin crew pictured lying on the floor of a Spanish airport last month after becoming stranded by bad weather have been sacked.
The six staff members "staged" the image in protest of their treatment at Malaga Airport in the early hours of October 14, Ryanair said.
They were part of a group of eight pilots and 16 cabin crew based in Portugal who claimed they were forced to spend several hours in an office after landing in the southern Spanish city just after midnight, following diversions caused by Hurricane Leslie.
The picture was widely shared on social media and led to accusations from the Portuguese cabin crew union SNPVAC that Ryanair had left staff "without minimum rest facilities".
However Ryanair, who further came under fire last month for their handling of a now infamous racist incident onboard one its jets, confirmed the six crew had been sacked for gross misconduct after CCTV from Malaga Airport contradicted their claims.
Ryanair exposes fake photo of cabin crew sleeping in crew room. Watch video here: pic.twitter.com/tzTn6EHsKH
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) 17 October 2018
A spokesperson said: "All six cabin crew members in Porto were dismissed on Mon 5 Nov for breach of contract on grounds of gross misconduct, after staging a fake photograph to support a false claim (widely reported in international media outlets) that they were 'forced to sleep on the floor' of the Malaga crew room.
"[This] was behaviour which damaged their employer's reputation and caused an irreparable breach of trust with these six persons."
Luciana Passo, head of SNPVAC in Portugal, promised a swift response to the Irish airline’s "awful" decision.
"Ryanair thinks it was harmed by the publication of that photograph when it was no more than a show of the crew members’ justified feeling of indignation," she said.
SNPVAC said it continues to dispute Ryanair's version of events, claiming the 24 staff members were placed in a crew room from 1.30am to 6am and had to share eight chairs in the office with no food or drink because Ryanair claimed local hotel accommodation was fully booked.
Ryanair posted CCTV footage on social media showing the crew members "staging" their photo and lying down on the floor of the crew room to pose for the camera.
The group were later moved to a VIP lounge at 6am to sleep on shared sofas, before flying back to Porto the following day.