In an exclusive interview with Southend News Network, the Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has asked the general public if anyone knows how to fly a plane.

Speaking to our Chief Reporter, he said: ‘We’re having a bit of an issue with pilots at the moment, so even if you have only played Flight Simulator but fancy a bit of an earn while you learn thing, drop us a line and we’ll get you the hat and everything.’

‘I saw something similar on this film once with Leslie Nielsen – truth be told it didn’t look too tricky then and this was the 1970’s.’

‘If it helps, we’ll put a guy up there to walk in and out of the cockpit saying ‘Good luck. We’re all counting on you’ repeatedly.’

‘There are computers now as well to help – the things practically fly themselves.’

‘It’s fanny central as well.’

We caught up with Essex man Joe Kinnear-Riley at Stansted Airport – he told our reporter that he was going to give it a go.

He said: ‘How difficult can it be seriously? I can drive a car, and I am always arriving 130 miles away from the place where I originally intended to go.’