Ryanair's O'Leary Apologizes For Mass Cancellations

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"In the event that you choose not to temporary [sic] second to one of the above bases where there is work readily available for you, then we will be left with no alternative but to allocate your unpaid leave", the letter continues.

Ryanair said it was working to find solutions for the thousands of affected passengers, but also indicated that it would not be willing to place them on a suitable flight on a different carrier.

He added: "We have some goodies to discuss, but if pilots misbehave, that would be the end of the discussion".

In a briefing to the media after the AGM, Mr O'Leary said a number of Ryanair pilots are to be offered a €10,000 annual pay rise where there are recruitment problems such as London Stansted, Dublin, Frankfurt and Berlin.

Many of Ryanair's pilots are now employed via temporary agency contracts, among the factors that allow the no-frills airline to keep costs down.

Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary said yesterday that he was prepared to cancel pilots' leave on his own accord, in an effort to alleviate the raft of cancellations.

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.

The Irish pilots' union (IALPA) said the airline can not blame the change because "they had at least two seasons' notice of the new regulations in which to put their house in order".

Ryanair's O'Leary Apologizes For Mass Cancellations
Ryanair pilots not threatening industrial action, Michael O'Leary says

Despite Monday's apology given by chief executive Michael O'Leary, with promises of compensation, Ryanair customers have expressed outrage over the cancelled flights - including from many football fans who are at risk of missing the Manchester United game in Lisbon next month. They will get it back in January.

He insisted the problems were localized and that certain parts of Europe had a surplus of experienced pilots.

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

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

He apologised to the 350,000 people affected by the cancellations.

He said: 'I would challenge any pilot to explain how this is either a hard job, or how it is they are overworked or how anybody who by law cannot fly more than 18 hours a week could possibly be suffering from fatigue.

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

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