Head rolls at Ryanair, more pilots leave

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Top executive to depart, as do more pilots, after scheduling scandal
The chief operations officer at embattled low-cost carrier Ryanair will leave the company at the end of the month, the first head to roll following the airline’s pilot rostering scandal.
Michael Hickey, who was responsible for the pilots’ scheduling shifts, is the first executive to leave the company as thousands of flight cancellations continue into October and the winter season.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary has himself faced calls to resign over his handling of the crisis.
Ryanair first announced 2,100 cancellations, after being forced to rearrange pilots’ rosters to comply with new rules requiring a change in how flying hours are logged. It later revealed 18,000 more cancellations.
It total, more than 700,000 passengers are affected, with 25 aircraft grounded this winter.
Meanwhile, O’Leary has written to his pilots pleading with them not to leave the airline and saying it has learned from mistakes.
In a rare show of remorse, the outspoken boss wrote to staff apologising for the chaos. The letter says that “grounding these 25 winter aircraft means we can protect your calendar month of annual leave”.
It adds that the airline can “allocate a lot of the 2018 annual leave in quarter one, well before our busy summer 18 schedule”.
O’Leary then goes on to detail “our respect for our pilots” and claims that comments he made about them last month about them being very well paid for doing a “very easy job” were “misreported”.
“The critical comments that I did make were specifically directed at pilots of competitor airlines and their local unions,” he said.
He also details pay rises and changes to working practices, promising “we will beat the pay (and the job security) of Norwegian, Jet2 and other competitor 737 operators’ at your base”.
Independent / TTG

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