Ryanair: Michael O’Leary turns down Oireachtas committee invite

Chief executive says he is too busy sorting out airline’s ongoing rostering controversy

Ryanair is to offer pilots in Dublin and other bases an extra €10,000 a-year to deter them from joining rival airlines, chief executive Michael O’Leary has said at a press briefing following the company's agm.

 

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has declined an invitation to appear before the Oireachtas committee on transport insisting all of his time is focused on resolving the recent controversy.

Committee members had asked Mr O’Leary to appear before them to detail the cause of the flight cancellations and the effect on consumers.

In a letter sent to the committee chairman Fergus O’Dowd on Monday, the Ryanair chief executive said he would not be participating in any outside engagements until the matter has been satisfactorily resolved.

His time and attention will be devoted to repairing the pilot rostering failure and to ensuring it never recurs, Mr O’Leary added.

“Please pass on my sincere apologies to the committee members but I hope they will understand the needs of our customers and our schedules must take priority at this time.”

Ryanair this weekend announced the cancellation of 462 flights from Dublin Airport over the winter period as part of the cancellation of extra 18,000 flights which will affect 400,000 customers.

The airline cancelled 22 Dublin flights a week from November 1st until March 24th, a period of 21 weeks.

This amounts to the withdrawal of some 87,000 seats and comes on top of the 319,000 the airline cancelled two weeks ago covering the six weeks to the end of October.

The winter routes affected will be Dublin to Birmingham, Paris Beauvais, Barcelona, Bucharest, Madrid, Warsaw, Modlin and Krakow.

Members had sought to question the chief executive on how the matter unfolded and how the airline could be sure a similar problem would not reoccur.

Mr O’Leary said he accepted the management failure had caused the rostering difficulties which led to “deeply regretted disruptions to our customers and their travel plans”.