Monday, 18 December, 2017

Ryanair in bid to GRAB BACK pilots' holidays to cut flight crisis

BRITAIN-IRELAND-TRANSPORT-AVIATION Ryanair has been in the middle of a media storm over flight cancellations
Preston Stone | 23 September, 2017, 00:38

A Ryanair pilot has taken the opportunity to reveal the truth about working conditions at the airline.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of United Kingdom pilots" union Balpa, said the comments were "wrong' and would lead to safety fears.

Ryanair has canceled 2,100 flights over a six-week period in September and October to compensate for a shortage of pilots on standby caused by a miscalculation in annual leave.

He said they will get that week back in January.

He explained that there is more to the situation than just a case of pilots needing leave.

"Whilst I appreciate that most Ryanair passengers will likely be rerouted on the same day on another Ryanair flight, many will not", wrote CAA consumers and markets group director Richard Moriarty in a letter to O'Leary dated September 19. "There isn't a union".

The Irish pilots' union (IALPA) said the airline can not blame the change because "they had at least two seasons' notice of the new regulations in which to put their house in order".

Mr O'Leary accused some pilots of being "precious about themselves" and "full of their own self-importance".

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O'Leary insisted at the AGM he had a good relationship with his pilots, but said: "I would challenge any pilot to explain how this is a hard job", expressing doubt that anyone could be tired after what he said was a maximum of 18 hours of flying per week. He believes that in November and December Ryanair will be losing a lot of their pilots. It has also asked its non-unionized pilots to forego taking all of their vacation days until next year.

Referring to pilots' pay he said "maybe we have got it a bit on the low side" and said it would be looked at.

The controversial Irishman faced questions at the budget airline's AGM after a backlog of holiday owed to pilots forced it to cancel 2,100 flights.

"We make mistakes. This time we made a major boo boo", said Mr O'Leary. We will be reasonable. It's also understood that pilots at some Spanish bases have already begun a work-to-rule pattern. "They want to succeed", he added.

In the meantime, consumer rights organisation DECO said that passengers affected by the cancellations here in Portugal could receive compensation of up to 400 euros.

"I seriously regret these cancellations and upsetting and worrying 80 million of our customers last week", he said.

"Michael O'Leary's statements are disgusting, we regularly fly over 40-44 hours in a week, 50-60 duty hours, waking up at 4 am plus commuting long distances".

The European Cockpit Association said Ryanair may now have to treat its staff better as well as its customers.

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