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Published: Sat, September 23, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Ryanair to recruit 120 new pilots in the 'next week or two'

Ryanair to recruit 120 new pilots in the 'next week or two'

There are growing reports in media that while the profitability of the airline may largely stay unaffected by this current chaos, the flight cancellations could, however, impact Ryanair's potential acquisition of Italy's carrier Alitalia.

Ryanair's boss Michael O'Leary is rushing to recruit 120 new pilots within "the next week or two" to avert the prospect of a new wave of cancelled flights.

He said pilots had collectively offered to work an extra 2,500 days since the crisis broke - the equivalent of 10 days from each of 250 of Ryanair's 4,200 pilots.

However, after an intervention from the Civil Aviation Authority the airline will now have to accommodate passengers on rival airlines - if necessary.

"The low cost airlines are arguably more vulnerable to a pilot shortage because of their growth, which is now compounded by their size", said Gerald Khoo, an analyst with Liberum.

A source told Reuters that the letter had been approved by pilots at 17 of 85 Ryanair bases, though this could not be independently verified by Reuters.

According to the BBC, this means those pilots who have a four-week block of holiday coming up in the next few months will be asked to postpone one week of that until January.

McCullough said that by rejecting the one-off payment and pay increases, pilots have shown "there's no quick fix to solve this deep-rooted issue".

The airline said the cancellations were because of a change in the way pilot's annual leave is calculated meant that too many were granted four-week breaks.

He explained that there is more to the situation than just a case of pilots needing leave.

Richard Nicolle, employment law partner at Stewarts, added: "It seems increasingly possible that the outcome could be pilots raising grievances, coordinating unofficial industrial action or even going for the nuclear option and resigning and claiming constructive dismissal".

He also said there have been no demands for new contracts.

Mr O'Leary accused some pilots of being "precious about themselves" and "full of their own self-importance". He believes that in November and December Ryanair will be losing a lot of their pilots.

"I would challenge any pilot to explain how this is a hard job or how it is 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 apologised to the 350,000 people affected by the cancellations.

The airline says the move is to "improve its system-wide punctuality" after a sharp decrease in flights arriving on time in recent weeks.

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

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

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