Ryanair offers €12000 bonus to pilots who give up leave

Under fire Michael O’Leary

"And indeed, we have around 500 unemployed pilot members looking for work who would be more than happy to work for Ryanair, should working conditions be improved in the airline".

"People are voting with their feet; the job market is good, they've got other options", he added.

In a statement on its careers website, Ryanair maintains that it "can offer the best career opportunities and progression in the industry", and provides "generous travel benefits" to its employees.

It said new contracts "should help stop the large number of colleagues who are leaving for 'greener pastures'".

During the meeting he said Ryanair is planning to take back one week of their pilots' holidays to prevent any further flight cancellations.

Ryanair will hire another 125 pilots in the next two weeks and increase their pay, Mr O'Leary told shareholders at the airline's AGM in Dublin.

RYANAIR, an Irish airline, is known for three things: low fares, the brash way in which Michael O'Leary, its chief executive, advertises them, and its record for sticking to its flight schedules.

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He said however that if pilots "misbehave there will be no goodies".

Angry customers inundated Ryanair's Facebook page and many are also complaining their calls and messages through the airline's call centre and online "chat" service are going unanswered or being cut off. And so the announcement on September 15th that it is cancelling over 2,000 flights between now and the end of October-around 2% of its capacity over the period-is more serious than it may at first seem.

Ryanair will also need to spend an extra €30m on hiring pilots.

The company's colourful chief executive Michael O'Leary announced the recruitment drive at Ryanair's AGM meeting, now taking place in Dublin. Compensation and lost fares for the cancelled flights will cost €25m ($30m).

OAG says there is increasing pressure on airlines to recruit pilots, with experts suggesting that in the next 20 years 610,000 new pilots will be required to meet the growing demand.

At the AGM, shareholders approved all resolutions by substantial majorities; votes in favour of the Financial Report (99.2pc) and votes in favour of the Remuneration Report (88.7pc).

Customers affected by cancellations which run until October 28 will be emailed offers of alternatives or full refunds and details of their compensation entitlement, the budget airline confirmed.

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