Ryanair CEO to face shareholders amid cancellations trouble

Ryanair

There are fears that Ryanair may be preparing to take back leave already allocated to pilots in a bid to ease the cancellations crisis at the airline. Such move has affected about 350,000 people intending to fly with the airline, and has cost Ryanair upwards of 25m in lost revenue so far.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary was expected to face shareholders at the company's annual general meeting yesterday amid a pilot shortage that has forced the budget airline to cancel hundreds of flights. They will get it back in January.

Mr O'Leary accused some pilots of being "precious about themselves" and "full of their own self-importance".

"Whilst I appreciate that most Ryanair passengers will likely be rerouted on the same day on another Ryanair flight, many will not", wrote CAA consumers and markets group director Richard Moriarty in a letter to O'Leary dated September 19.

"(Piloting a commercial plane) is very highly skilled but I challenge any pilot to explain how it is a hard job or how they are overworked", he added.

Irish law allows Ryanair to avoid recognising trade unions but several sources said that both pilots and cabin crew are forming informal groups to increase their bargaining power, while taking advice from worldwide labour rights groups. 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.

GETTY    
     FALLOUT More than 700 staff have reportedly already left the company this year
GETTY FALLOUT More than 700 staff have reportedly already left the company this year

He revealed some pilots had been offered €10,000 (£8,700) rises as their wages were "a little on the low side".

The CAA's view, which I set out in Annex 1 of my letter to you of 16 August, is that Regulation EC261 requires Ryanair to offer passengers on canceled flights alternative travel options, including flying with a different airline. But the competition from Norwegian has created one bright spot for pilots that may have to cancel holiday plans next month: Ryanair is offering captains €12,000 ($14,400) to work extra days, according to the Irish Independent, and pilots at some major hubs are also being offered extra pay to keep them from leaving. "They want to succeed", he added.

An unusually contrite O'Leary had held an emergency press conference on Monday to apologize and to publish a list of all affected flights.

"I seriously regret these cancellations and upsetting and worrying 80 million of our customers last week", he said.

One pilot told Mail Online: "There are reports of lots of pilots joining BALPA union".

The European Cockpit Association said Ryanair may now have to treat its staff better as well as its customers.

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