Ryanair crew members who were pictured sleeping on the floor of a Spanish airport have been sacked, the airline has confirmed.
The photo, which Ryanair said was staged after uncovering CCTV footage, was widely shared across social media.
The video shared by the budget airline apparently shows the six crew members arranging themselves in sleeping positions in a corner of the room before the image was captured in Malaga, Spain.
A Portuguese union, SNPVAC, that represents airline crews criticised Ryanair after the images were revealed.
It had previously disagreed with the airline’s summary of events, claiming that crew members were placed in a room between 1.30am and 6am “without minimum rest facilities”.
The union alleged that crew members – eight pilots and 16 cabin crew– were left “without access to food, drinks and even a place to sit down, as there were only eight seats available for the crew”.
However SNPVAC later confirmed that the staff were moved to a VIP lounge at 6am.
The staff were eventually dismissed for gross misconduct, a Ryanair spokesman said.
More than 20 crew members were stranded in Malaga airport when their Porto-bound flights were diverted on 14 October.
However Ryanair said that despite the circumstances, “no crew slept on the floor”.
“The crew spent a short period of time in the crew room before being moved to a VIP lounge, and returned to Porto the next day,” the company said.
Confirming the dismissals on Tuesday, Ryanair said the photo led to media reports that caused significant harm to the company’s reputation and “caused an irreparable breach of trust with these six persons”.
The image was initially shared by Jim Atkinson on Twitter, who blasted the airline for not providing adequate accommodation for staff.
He wrote: “This is a Ryanair 737 crew based in Portugal, stranded in Malaga, Spain a couple of nights ago due to storms. They are sleeping on the floor of the Ryanair crew room. RYR is earning €1.25 billion this year but will not put stranded crews in a hotel for the night.