Ryanair Pilots Offered More Money but May Have to Change Holiday Plans

Ryanair has offered pilots a €10,000 pay rise to stave off competition from other carriers after a week of flight cancellations and customer dissatisfaction but the company told staff that they could "kiss goodbye" to better pay and conditions if they took industrial action.

They showed their satisfaction yesterday when O'Leary was re-elected to the board (pdf) with the support of 99.3% of shareholders at the company's annual meeting.

If such threat comes to pass, the crisis at the budget airline may deepen even further.

The under-fire airline chief said they would get the week back in January but the move is likely to anger staff, and could prompt more to quit.

"I want to say personally, to each and every one of you who work in Ryanair, I'm sorry for the mess that we have created over the past week over the rosters", added Mr O'Leary.

'Piloting is very highly skilled, but I challenge any pilot to explain how it is a hard job or how they are overworked, or how anybody who by law can't fly more than 18 hours a week could possibly be suffering from fatigue, ' he said.

'Ryanair appears to be telling its pilots that if they report, their attitude will be that it's the pilot's own fault'. He said: 'To suggest that pilot fatigue in short-haul operations can only occur because of the pilot's activities outside of work is, in our view, wrong.

The six weeks of flight cancellations have cost the airline around €25m.

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But they've been warned that if they don't accept the secondment from their current base, then the company will be left with "no alternative" except to "allocate you unpaid leave". We will be reasonable.

Mr O'Leary said that to help ensure no further cancellations after the six-week period, 500 pilots with a four-week block of leave booked for October and 500 in November will have to work one week of that leave.

"We don't need their agreement".

Ryanair pilots have to pay €300 to go to their first job interview.

In the meantime, consumer rights organisation DECO said that passengers affected by the cancellations here in Portugal could receive compensation of up to 400 euros.

"Michael O'Leary's statements are disgusting, we regularly fly over 40-44 hours in a week, 50-60 duty hours, waking up at 4 am plus commuting long distances".

"By the end of this week over 95% of customers will be rebooked or refunded".

  • Darren Santiago