After cancellation debacle, Ryanair pilots offered better pay

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary

Mr O'Leary said over the next six months, pilots would see significant changes to and investment in rosters and pilot career development at Ryanair.

A current Ryanair pilot has told ITV News that flight cancellations could continue next year.

Last month, Ryanair was forced to cancel 20,000 flights up to March, mainly owing to a shortage of pilots.

The letter also received a lukewarm response from pilots who contacted the BBC.

Earlier this week, O'Leary issued an unprecedented apology to his pilots in an attempt to stem the crisis at the airline, which has also faced the threat of an employee revolt.

Mr O'Leary's letter implored the pilot team not to leave the airline and offered them improved terms and working conditions.

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He pledged pay increases and benchmarking against competitors in future promising Ryanair will exceed salaries of rival airlines. The Guardian reports that HMRC are investigating Ryanair pilots over the company's tax structure and use of Irish limited companies to employ UK-based pilots in order to avoid paying sick pay and other benefits.

But passengers have complained about the short notice of the cancellations and the consumer group Which? said Ryanair's compensation information was "woefully short". That move affects some 700,000 passengers.

Mr Hickey, who has been at the budget carrier for almost 30 years, will leave at the end of the month.

The company was already under heavy fire for cancelling up to 50 flights a day in the middle of September before an additional 18,000 flights were axed at the end of the month.

Passenger numbers jumped by 10% in September, even amid flight cancellations, which "underlines the extent to which the budget carrier is still growing despite the pilot-rostering challenges that have clipped its planned expansion", says aviation website FlightGlobal.

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