Ryanair admits pilot shortage is behind flight cancellations

Ryanair admits pilot shortage is behind flight cancellations

Ryanair is facing a bill of up to €20m for passengers left stranded and forced to re-book.

Pilots in 33 airports across Europe were roundly rejecting the cash offer, instead demanding improved working conditions in their contracts to take on extra work before October 31.

Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services, said: "It's outrageous that Ryanair passengers who have had already to endure huge inconvenience are essentially being double charged for booking seating and luggage".

The current pilot crisis is deepening for Ryanair as crews have rejected a financial offer by the budget airline to work through holidays. "There isn't a union".

He added: "If you have captains on the 737s who are in their early 30s and single, [and asked] to fly long haul with Norwegian out of Dublin for six or 12 months, there is a risk that we may lose some pilots to Norwegian".

Rather than diffusing an on-going standoff with his airline's pilots, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary escalated the situation on Thursday, threatening to cancel some of their scheduled leave and characterizing their jobs as cushy.

The airline said passengers whose flights are affected will be notified by email and text, and will be able to either change their flight free of charge or receive a full refund for the cost of the flight.

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Loizos Heracleous, a professor of strategy and organization at Warwick Business School, said it is surprising that a company so focused on optimizing operations "could be caught out like this", and that it is mushrooming into a much bigger problem.

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

It's also recruited 125 new pilots to prevent further flights being cancelled.

More than 700 Ryanair pilots have quit overall complaining of mistreatment and saying O'Leary treats them with "utter contempt", The Sun says.

"There's an underlying problem at Ryanair, which is quite simply that the company can not replace pilots as fast as they quit", he wrote.

Outspoken chief executive Michael O'Leary apologised to customers on Monday and admitted that the scandal would have a "large reputational impact" on the group.

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