Ryanair cancels more than 2000 flights over the next six weeks

The airline's CEO Michael O'Leary said that he can not guarantee an end to current flight cancellations and disruption, but that Ryanair will recruit new pilots and increase their pay to try to combat the crisis.

Pilots at London Stansted, Dublin, Frankfurt and Berlin were offered the pay rise year, with similar offers at other airports dependent on whether those bases have a surplus of pilots.

The announcement comes just hours after a letter was sent to the company by a group of its existing pilots, rejecting an offer of a tax-free £12,000 bonus in exchange for working overtime.

He dismissed talk of possible industrial action, including reported plans for a work-to-rule, saying: "There isn't a union". However Michael O'Leary has told the Ryanair AGM that pilots "do not want unionisation".

Italian Transport Minister Graziano Delrio said this week customers' rights had to be protected, adding: "We can not make allowances for anyone who creates so much inconvenience".

He also said that Ryanair does not require the agreement of the pilots to take back the leave, and said that all the cancellations would likely cost the airline about €25m (£22m).

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Across Europe, I'm told, staff reps from more than 30 bases are talking on Whatsapp, co-ordinating a plan to get a better deal from their employer. One used the word "revolt".

The pilots also say the details around the offer are too vague, particularly with regards to the number of days off pilots who accept the bonus would have to give up in order to qualify for it.

If these pilots refuse to work extra days, more cancellations could be on the way.

"Airlines are already beginning to see pilot associations flex their muscles with respect to improved compensation packages and this will only grow in the next 12 months as yearly negotiations take place".

"There's an underlying problem at Ryanair, which is quite simply that the company can not replace pilots as fast as they quit", he wrote.

The airline said it expected to have re-accommodated more than 175,000 customers on other Ryanair flights and to have processed refunds for more than 20% of those affected by close of business yesterday.

  • Ronnie Bowen