Ryanair promises pilots significant improvements in pay, conditions

Outspoken Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has sent a letter apologizing to pilots and offeringto beat competitor’s pay packages. (AFP)
Updated 07 October 2017

Ryanair promises pilots significant improvements in pay, conditions

DUBLIN: Ryanair on Thursday promised its pilots significant improvements in pay and conditions, saying it would exceed rates paid by rivals and improve job security, according to a letter to pilots seen by Reuters.
The Irish airline, the largest in Europe by passenger numbers, has in recent weeks announced the cancelation of thousands of flights, saying it did not have enough standby pilots to ensure the smooth operation of its schedule.
The move has sparked customer outrage and a wage of negative media coverage across Europe.
Unions have said a significant number of pilots have left Ryanair in recent months to get more secure contracts, better pay and improved conditions at rival airlines.
Ryanair last week said reports it had a pilot shortage were false, saying less than 260 of its 4,200 pilots had left so far this year and that it was in the process of hiring 650 more.
On Thursday CEO Michael O’Leary sent a three-page letter to its pilots promising “significant improvements to your rosters, your pay, your basing, your contracts and your career progression over the next 12 months.”
The letter, addressed to “all Ryanair pilots,” said Ryanair would “beat” the pay and job security offered by fellow Boeing 737 operators Jet2 and Norwegian Air Shuttle.
He repeated a promise to increase pilots’ pay by between €5,000 ($5,856) and €10,000 per year at four key bases and to negotiate with pilots at other bases about increases. He also pledged to offer a loyalty bonus of between 6,000 and 12,000 euros for pilots still employed at the airline in 12 months’ time.
But he added a new offer to match local employment conditions where they differ from the Irish contracts under which all Ryanair pilots work, another key demand of the pilots.
Changes to the roster systems would mean that “your days off will really mean days off,” he added.
The conditions mirror demands made in a letter by pilots at a number of Ryanair’s 86 bases last month. While Ryanair does not recognize trade unions, pilots have been using social media to organize in recent months.
The often outspoken O’Leary, who last month said he “would challenge any pilot to explain how this is a difficult job,” praised his pilots in the letter, describing them as “the best in the business.”
He said the critical comments made at last month’s annual general meeting had been misreported and were specifically directed at pilots of competitor airlines and their unions.
— Reuters

Airbus sees regional demand for A220

Updated 18 July 2018

Airbus sees regional demand for A220

  • Airbus acquired a majority stake in the C-Series program in October officially rebranding it in April to the A220
  • The US low-cost carrier JetBlue last week became the first purchaser of the aircraft since its rebrand

FARNBOROUGH: Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Eric Schulz has played up the prospects for the Bombardier C-Series aircraft in the Middle East and beyond, hoping carriers will use the single-aisle plane to expand routes.

The European plane maker acquired a majority stake in the C-Series program in October, officially rebranding it in April to the A220, strengthening its offering in the smaller jet sector in competition with arch-rival Boeing.

“Yes, I believe we’ll see orders in every region,” Schulz said when asked about the prospects for Middle Eastern orders for the plane.

“There are many people across the Middle East who are looking at the opportunity to integrate the A220 as a feeder to leverage their routes up to a point where maturity can be on with the single aisle.”

Schulz spoke to Arab News on the second day of the UK’s Farnborough International Airshow, which marked the rebranded A220’s first public appearance.

The US low-cost carrier JetBlue last week became the first purchaser of the aircraft since its rebrand, with an order for 60 of the single-aisle planes.

Airbus on Tuesday announced a commitment from what it described as “a new US airline startup” for 60 A220-300 aircraft, with deliveries due to begin in 2021.

The new airline is backed up by a group of experienced investors led by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, who is also an investor in TAP in Portugal and the controlling shareholder in Brazil’s Azul airlines.

The single-aisle market is expected to dominate commercial plane orders over the next 20 years, according to forecasts released by Boeing on Tuesday.

The US manufacturer expects demand for 31,360 single-aisle planes — representing nearly three quarters of total orders — over the period, an increase of 6.1 percent compared with similar forecasts published last year.

“This $3.5 trillion market is driven in large part by the continued growth of low-cost carriers, strong demand in emerging markets, and increasing replacement demand in markets such as China and Southeast Asia,” Boeing said.

In the face of such growth prospects, Boeing earlier this month agreed to takeover the commercial jetliner business of Brazil’s Embraer, a specialist in smaller passenger planes, in order to better compete better with Airbus in the segment.

Schulz downplayed suggestions of a downturn in orders from Middle East carriers, suggesting that any slowdown in orders from the region’s larger players would come alongside an uptick from other carriers.

“There might be a little bit of a slowdown for some airlines, and there is also some growth for others,” Schulz said.

“We are serving the market, and what we need to do is just continue to serve the market and take the opportunities and the challenges where they are and just deal with them.”

Schulz said that Airbus was “moving forward” with the details of its $16 billion A380 deal with Emirates struck in January.

The deal with the Dubai-based carrier for 36 additional superjumbo planes, the last major deal agreed by Schulz’s predecessor John Leahy, was seen as saving the beleaguered aircraft program, which has struggled to secure new orders.

“Clearly the relationship is fantastic,” Schulz said, having met with Emirates CEO Tim Clark on Monday.

“Clearly they have put a lot of emphasis on the opportunity that their A380 fleet is giving them. They need the plane, we need the plane to be delivered, and yes, it’s all aligned.”