Ryanair boss offers personal apology to pilots, urges them to stay for ‘brighter future’

Will this end the turbulent times for the budget airline?

In his latest attempt to salvage the situation, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has written to the airline’s pilots and offered them better pay and conditions. In the letter to Ryanair pilots, Mr O’Leary has apologised for changes that disrupted their holiday rotas and urged them not to leave the group.

O’Leary has also clarified that the critical comments he made at the group’s annual general meeting had been misreported: “The critical comments that I did make were specifically directed 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.”

He further wrote in the letter that the airline has decided not to cancel pilot’s leave as this was “not the right thing to do” and urged the pilots to stay on with the group: “If you have or are considering joining one of these less financially secure/or Brexit challenged airlines, I urge you to stay with Ryanair for a brighter better future for you and your family.”

There were reports that a letter was circulating among Ryanair’s pilots encouraging them to form an unofficial union to challenge the airline’s working practices. “To overthrow this structure will require immense force of will, stamina and commitment from every pilot,” the pilots’ letter read.

In the recent days, the company has angered many customers by cancelling hundreds of flights after being left short-staffed by a botched revamp of its internal vacation planning. The airline is also facing legal action from the Belgian government for only communicating with Belgium’s French and Dutch-speaking customers in English regarding compensation owed to them after the cancellation fiasco, media reports state.

The British aviation regulator, CAA, had earlier rebuked the airline for providing “misleading information” after it offered affected passengers either the choice of refunds or alternative Ryanair flights.

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