Hickey to leave Ryanair following cancellations

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

The airline confirmed Hickey's departure this evening with chief executive Michael O'Leary saying that he made "an enormous contribution" to Ryanair.

The improved conditions came after the airline was forced to cancel thousands of flights in recent weeks.

Having implored them to remain with the airline for a "for a brighter future", the letter ends with O'Leary adding "I urge you to stay with Ryanair". The Guardian reports that HMRC are investigating Ryanair pilots over the company's tax structure and use of Irish limited companies to employ UK-based pilots in order to avoid paying sick pay and other benefits. "It's a, How nice we are, followed by a carrot and then a threat".

The letter offered a range of improvements to terms and conditions, including salary increases, loyalty bonus payments, improved rostering and better compensation for those pilots forced into working away from their home base.

Ryanair flight cancellations - now numbering some 18,000 and stretching into March 2018 - have disrupted a total of around 715,000 passenger bookings, but the budget airline is still a magnet for thrifty travellers looking for flights for a tenner.


Mr O'Leary stressed that Ryanair was a "very secure employer in a very insecure industry" and he emphasised that the airline's pilots "are the best in the business".

Mr O'Leary has apologised to passengers for the "mess" and told Ryanair's annual shareholder meeting last month he took personal responsibility for the "cock up". This affects the interests of more than 700 thousand passengers.

As part of his role Mr Hickey, who has had a 30-year career with the airline, was responsible for scheduling shifts for pilots.

In mid-September, Ryanair announced the first wave of mass cancellations.

Ryanair says 98% of customers hit by flight cancellations in September and October have been refunded or offered alternative transport.

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