RYANAIR boss Michael O’Leary has begged pilots not to quit after thousands of flights were cancelled and the airline became the target of passengers fury.
He has reportedly apologised to pilots, offering them incentives to stay with the carrier in a personal letter.
He is said to have promised pay increases, a “productivity/loyalty bonus” and “significant improvements” to contracts and career progression.
It follows the cancellation of tens of thousands of flights through to March this year because of errors in how pilots are rostered for work, disrupting the travel plans of 700,000 passengers.
Ryanair insists the latest reduction in its schedule will “eliminate all risk of further flight cancellations”, with the CEO previously stating the airline was “not short of pilots”.
In Thursday’s letter, published by TheJournal.ie, Mr O’Leary urges pilots not to forsake Ryanair for “less financially secure/or Brexit challenged airlines”.
Under a section entitled “Learning from this mistake”, Mr O’Leary promises “significant changes to, and investment in, our rostering and pilot career development” over the next six months.
He also pledges to exceed pilot pay offered by Ryanair’s rivals, and a bonus of 12,000 euro (£10,700) to dissuade pilots from moving elsewhere.
Near the end of the letter he writes: “If you have or are considering joining one of these less financially secure/or Brexit challenged airlines, I urge you to stay with Ryanair for a brighter better future for you and your family.”
Ryanair has blamed the cancellations on a problem with the pilots’ holiday rota – with many employees due leave that had to be taken before the end of the year.
It also said air traffic control strikes and weather disruptions were affecting its performance.
Following the new wave of cancellations, which will affect 400,000 passengers, O’Leary has issued a fresh apology.
He said: “We sincerely apologise to those customers who have been affected by last week’s flight cancellations, or these sensible schedule changes announced today.
“From today, there will be no more rostering related flight cancellations this winter or in summer 2018.”