COO Michael Hickey the first casualty of budget airline’s pilot holiday rota fiasco
Ryanir chief operations officer Michael Hickey became the first casualty of the budget airline’s pilot holiday rota fiasco, which has led to thousands of flights being cancelled.
Hickey, who was responsible for scheduling shifts for pilots, will leave his post at the end of the month and is the first executive to leave the under-fire airline.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary, who has faced calls to resign, said Mr Hickey “will be a hard act to replace”.
The news of Mr Hickey’s impending departure comes after Mr O’Leary wrote to the airline’s pilots offering them significant improvements to their pay and conditions, if they stay with the airline.
In a three-page letter O’Leary apologises for the changes that caused problems with the rota and said he would beat any deal offered to any of its 4,200 pilots by other airlines, if they remained loyal.
Ryanair has offered pay increases of up to €10k, better payments for extra work, improved conditions and career prospects and a loyalty bonus of €12k is they don’t move to a rival airline. Ryanair has cancelled over 700,000 passengers’ journeys due to the issues over pilot holiday rota.
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”. Mr O’Leary added that Ryanair was a “very secure employer in a very insecure industry” – a reference to the collapse of Monarch – and called the airline’s pilots “are the best in the business”.
He went on to ask the pilots not to allow competitor pilots or their unions “to demean or disparage our collective success” and urged them not to join “one of these less financially secure or Brexit-challenged airlines”.
O’Leary has previously apologised publically for the changes in the rota – brought about to comply with new aviation rules – which led These moves affect more than 700,000 passengers.
It was then forced to improve its compensation to passengers after the airline came in for criticism from the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) over its handling of the crisis, and for not advising passengers fully of their rights. The airline subsequently emailed 20,000 customers outlining their rights and explaining how and when they will be booked onto other flights.