In an open letter released by the European Cockpit Association, a representative body of European Union-based pilots, Ryanair pilots addressed chief executives of Ryanair Group and its subsidiaries to discuss the “developing and pressing situation” jointly.
Recently, the Dublin, Ireland-based airline announced that it expected to ground “most, if not all” aircraft due to the outbreak of COVID-19, which has resulted in a decline in bookings and travel restrictions. It also pointed out that Ryanair had about $4.3 billion (€4 billion) of cash liquidity. Michael O’Leary, the group’s chief executive, noted that the low-cost carrier was “resilient, with a very strong balance sheet and substantial cash liquidity.”
Ryanair Transnational Pilot Group (RTPG), representing unionized Ryanair pilots, had “no doubt about the resilience of our airline group,” called for a “for a united and socially responsible response where both management and the pilots work together, identifying solutions which cater both for the company’s needs and for your pilots’ future.”
The pilot‘s union outlined five solutions to navigate the current crisis, including effective communication, changes to employment only on a short-term basis based “on transparent and objective criteria”, maximum usage of the “substantial cash liquidity” and an equal share of the burden across the workforce within the airline. Moreover, the airline’s flight crews plead for lay-offs to be avoided.
While Ryanair’s management has previously indicated to the unions that they would use employment laws on a country-by-country basis, RTPG called for a unified solution under which none of the union’s colleagues would be left behind, even if they were employed via broker agencies or were self-employed pilots.
“We are confident that by working together we will retain the loyalty of the highest possible number of flight crew and thereby guarantee the company’s capacity to sail through and successfully rebound from this crisis.”