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Ryanair plans to make pilots change holidays

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said the firm plans to make some pilots delay a week’s holiday as it wrestles with massive flight cancellations.

His comments came at the airline’s annual general meeting in Dublin.

Ryanair is cancelling 40-50 flights every day for the next six weeks, after it admitted it had “messed up” the planning of pilot holidays.

Mr O’Leary said some pilots had been offered a 10,000-euro pay rise in exchange for helping out.

He told the AGM that the offer applied to pilots at London Stansted, Dublin, Frankfurt and Berlin airports.

This is on top of a cash bonus already offered to pilots, which has been given a frosty reception.

Ryanair had offered captains a one-off payment of £12,000 or 12,000 euros, and first officers £6,000 or 6,000 euros, but representatives said they wanted new contracts and better working conditions instead.

Analysis: Simon Jack, business editor

Will the combination of unhappy customers, and the increased cost of retaining pilots, harm the very business model of the airline itself?

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Could Michael O’Leary become a lightning rod for staff discontent (the way Willie Walsh did at BA) and have to stand down?

According to shareholders I spoke to today, the answers are no and no.

Read more from Simon in his business blog

Mr O’Leary said the airline had “some goodies” to propose to pilots, but added: “If pilots misbehave, that will be the end of the goodies.”

He dismissed talk of possible industrial action, including reported plans for a work-to-rule, saying: “There isn’t a union.”

He also accused unions of trying to give the company “a bloody nose” and said staff did not want union representation.

What should I do if my flight is cancelled?

Flight cancellations in full

Has your flight been cancelled? Get in touch:

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Mr O’Leary told the AGM that Ryanair was facing a “significant management failure” and the cancellations had cost the airline about 25m euros (£22m).

He said pilots who had a four-week block of holidays coming up in the next few months because of rota changes, would be told to take three weeks off instead and have the other week in January.

This partial reversal of the new holiday policy announced earlier in the week applied to 500 of the airline’s 4,200 pilots, he said, and would stop cancellations rolling into November and December.

Arguing that Ryanair did not need the pilots’ agreement to these further changes to their holiday arrangements, Mr O’Leary said: “There won’t be more cancellations because of the rostering issues.”


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