Michael O’Leary writes letter to Ryanair pilots offering to 'transform' their pay and careers

By Stephen Rogers

Michael O’Leary has written to all Ryanair pilots offering to “transform” their pay and career prospects and to beat the pay and job security offered by rival airlines.

The Ryanair chief executive told the pilots the airline will each year benchmark its pilot pay against its 737 competitors, particularly Jet2 and Norwegian.

“Where at any base we are below them, we will negotiate with that base to ensure we don’t just match them, but rather we will exceed them,” he told them.

“These pay increases will now allow us to target 737 recruits from these weaker, lower pay airlines.”

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.

Among a number of improvements he committed to were:

          • Pay increases from October 1, initially through base supplements of €10,000 for captains and €5,000 for first officers at a number of bases including Dublin. At other bases, different supplements would apply depending on competitor rates and whether Ryanair is already “pay competitive”.

          • A 12-month loyalty/production bonus of up to €12,000 for captains and €6,000 for first officers, payable monthly from next month to October 2018 subject to “reasonable and achievable performance or targets being met”.

          • The negotiation of any differences between Irish and local individual employment benefits, such as sick pay, into its Irish contracts with each base’s Employment Representative Council.

The Ryanair boss also urged pilots who were considering a move to a “less financially secure or Brexit challenged airline” to stay with Ryanair “for a brighter better future for you and your family”.

In the letter, Mr O’Leary also defended his respect for the pilots describing them as “the best in the business”, hard workers, well trained and extremely professional.

He said comments he had made at a recent press conference were “misreported” and that criticisms he had made were aimed at pilots of competitor airlines and their local unions “who take every opportunity to criticise and denigrate Ryanair, our pilots, our safety, our operating performance and our business model”.

Referencing the cancellations announced last month, he apologised personally and said there had been “poor planning” during the airline’s “rostering failure”.

He concluded the message to pilots by asking them to give the airline any evidence of higher pay by a rival at their base so Ryanair could “meet it and beat it”.

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