Ryanair moves to quell unrest among pilots and shareholders
Cost of last week’s flight cancellations ‘should be under €25 million’, says airline
Ryanair has moved to quell unrest at the airline by raising the base pay of many of its pilots from the beginning of October and withdrawing threats to unilaterally take away their leave.
The airline also sought to reassure shareholders, saying the “total cost of the flight cancellations last week should be under €25 million”.
In a statement outlining a reduction in the number of flights to be offered and a slowing of its rate of growth, the airline said it appreciated “the widespread support we have received from our 4,200 pilots over the past weeks”.
It claimed that hundreds of pilots and many of their employee representative councils (ERC) “have been in regular contact with the airline offering to work days off, to work one week of their allocated month of leave, and offering to go public to correct the false claims made about them, and Ryanair, by competitor airline pilots in certain media outlets”.
It said the slower growth would mean it would not need pilots to give up a week of their annual leave from November.
“Slower growth creates a large surplus of standby pilots so we can allocate all annual leave due in the three months to December, and more again in Q1 of 2018,” the company said.
The company said it would be implementing a €10,000 base supplement for captains and a €5,000 supplement for first officers at Dublin, Stansted, Berlin and Frankfurt from October 1st.
“We received requests from a number of other ERCs who wish to discuss these issues, and we have agreed to schedule meetings with these ERCs over the coming months,” the statement said.
“We will not respond or accede to anonymous demands made via unsigned emails for group or regional meetings, or for union interference at these internal ERC meetings. Many of our pilots and ERCs have confirmed that these unsigned letters were drafted by pilots/unions of competitor airlines who wish to pursue an industrial relations agenda at the expense of Ryanair and its pilots.”
It said it had written to pilots “to correct last week’s false claims made about our pilot recruitment. In the current year under 100 captains have left (mainly to retirement or long haul airlines) and less than 160 first officers (mostly to long haul airlines).”
Ryanair said it had recruited and will train more than 650 pilots “not only to replace these leavers/retirees but also to crew up for the 50 new Boeing aircraft we will buy” to next May which it said would mean the airline would have a fleet of 445 planes for next summer.
“Contrary to false claims of pilot shortages, Ryanair has in recent weeks seen a big surge in pilot applications from Gulf carriers and in Germany and Italy where both Air Berlin and Alitalia are in bankruptcy and hundreds of their pilots are facing job losses or steep cuts in their pay and conditions,” the statement said.
Addressing shareholders it said the slower rate of growth would slightly reduce its traffic this year and next. “Our monthly growth from November 2017 to March 2018 will slow from 9 per cent to 4 per cent. Our full-year traffic of 131 million will now moderate to 129 million, which is 7.5 per cent up on last year.”
It said the total cost of the flight cancellations announced last week s and that the cost of issuing free flight vouchers as a result of the latest cancellations would likely be less than €25 million.
The company said it expected its guidance for profit after tax would stay unchanged at between €1.4 billion and €1.45 billion.