Ryanair Pilot Group plans to meet investors
Group claims more than 1,600 members and also requests meeting with O’Leary
Michael O’Leary: unlikely to meet pilots
The Ryanair Pilot Group may seek to meet institutional investors in the airline in the near future, a member of the group’s interim council said last night.
The council yesterday held its first press conference, at which it said it had more than 1,600 members, and wanted to meet Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary.
It played a video in which Mr O’Leary appeared to tell another press conference earlier this year that he would meet the group if its membership exceeded 1,600, or more than half of the pilots working for Ryanair.
The indications yesterday were that Mr O’Leary was not going to respond positively to the request for a meeting.
“We don’t comment on the activity or false claims of KLM or Aer Lingus pilots,” the airline said in a short statement. The five-member interim council of the Ryanair Pilot Group is made up of non-Ryanair pilots.
Capt Evert Van Zwol told the press conference in Brussels that Ryanair pilots were fearful of the consequences for their careers of being associated with the group.
The members of the council are being sued for defamation in the High Court by Ryanair arising out of a statement it released to pilots some weeks ago. The airline is also suing a number of other pilots arising from comments they made about Ryanair on the internet.
Capt Van Zwol, chairman of the interim council, told The Irish Times the group was not yet in a position to organise industrial action on a pan-European basis and that it would go down every other route before contemplating such a move.
“For instance, we have discussed going to institutional investors and telling them our story. That is something I would like . . . to do in the not too distant future.”
He said Ryanair was Europe’s biggest airline by passenger numbers but did not behave like a company of that scale. Changing that could be good for the company, he said.
He said the group was involved in a longer-term project that would see it being able to represent Ryanair pilots on professional matters and also be legally entitled to organise industrial action in the various jurisdictions involved.
The group is asking for a common basic contract that covers all pilots.