The photo was taken before the staff members were moved to a VIP lounge in Malaga airport, the airline says.
Six members of Ryanair’s cabin crew who were pictured sleeping on the floor of an airport office in Spain last month have been fired, the airline says.
The employees were accused of gross misconduct by creating the photo, which was shared widely on social media platforms and was reported by major news outlets around the world.
The image taken in the early hours of October 13 appears to show the team trying to sleep on a hard floor in their uniforms, using their jackets as pillows.
It was reported that the Portugal-based crew had been stranded in Malaga due to stormy weather in Porto, but the low-cost carrier insists the image was staged.
The airline says that “no crew slept on the floor” and they team spent only a “short period of time” in the crew rooms before being moved to a VIP lounge, the BBC reports.
Ryanair even issued security camera footage showing other members of staff standing and walking around the room while some curled up on the floor.
Cabin crew at airlines are entitled to “adequate” rest before and during shifts, although the extent of rest required is often a point of dispute between employers and employees.
The union SNPVAC stands against Ryanair’s version of events, claiming the crew spent more than four hours in the crew room without access to food, drinks or chairs.
The head of the union, Luciana Passo, confirmed the dismissals and insists the image was “no more than a show of the crew members’ justified feeling of indignation”.
A Ryanair spokesperson said: “All six cabin crew members in Porto were dismissed on Monday 5 November 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.”