Ryanair is planning to cut 3,000 pilot and cabin crew jobs and reduce staff pay by up to a fifth in response to the Covid-19 crisis, which has grounded flights.
Europe’s largest low-cost carrier said it expected it will now take at least two years for a return to 2019 passenger demand and pricing, estimating summer 2020 at the earliest, as it laid out plans to cut further costs.
Group CEO Michael O’Leary, whose pay was cut by 50% for April and May, has now agreed to extend this 50% pay cut for the remainder of the financial year to March 2021.
He told the BBC: “If a vaccine isn’t found then clearly we may have to announce more cuts and deeper cuts into the future.”
In a Covid-19 market update today, Ryanair said it would ground more than 99% of its flights until July and said it had begun negotiations with Boeing about cutting the number of aircraft deliveries over the next 24 months.
It expects to carry fewer than 100 million passengers for the year to the end of March 2021, 35% less than its original target of 154 million.
O’Leary also addressed complaints from customers about the difficulty in getting refunds for cancelled flights. The airline is offering vouchers in the first instance.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, he said: “We will give you your money back. If you want a cash refund, you will receive a cash refund.”
But he added: “It’s going to take us many months to process these cash refunds. The airline would normally process 10,000 claims a month but was currently dealing with a backlog of 25m, covering cancellations from March to May.”
Earlier, Mr. O’Leary said he planned to challenge in European Courts what he described as more than €30 billion in “unlawful and discriminatory state aid” to a dozen rivals, including Lufthansa Group, Air France-KLM Group, and Alitalia.