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Ryanair pilots’ contribution to address COVID-19 challenges in a socially responsible manner

Dear Michael,

Dear Eddie, Dear Andreas, Dear Diarmuid, Dear Michał,

We write to you on behalf of the Ryanair Transnational Pilot Group (RTPG) and our Member Associations, representing unionised Ryanair pilots:

In reference to your recent communications on the subject of COVID-19, including the latest statements in the press regarding the grounding of the majority of the fleet, we urgently invite you to address this developing and pressing situation jointly with your pilots and their Company Councils’ and Unions.

We have no doubt about the resilience of our airline group thanks to its “very strong balance sheet and substantial cash liquidity” amounting to over €4 billion. At the same time, we believe the extraordinary circumstances we are experiencing call 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.

In order to identify such solutions, that will not only allow us to get through the crisis but also to benefit from the upswing thereafter, we consider it essential that:

  • there is genuine engagement and consultation/negotiation with your pilots’ unions, across Europe. Such engagement is also a crucial door opener to accessing governmental tools & support foreseen to aid companies in times of force majeure.
  • any measures are of a strictly temporary basis, based on transparent and objective criteria (e.g. seniority) and must not result in longer-term and/or structural changes which would be to the detriment of your pilots.
  • maximum use is made of the Ryanair Group’s ‘substantial cash liquidity’ to cushion negative social repercussions for your pilots, especially in countries where state support is likely to be weak.
  • lay-offs are to be avoided – not least to allow for a swift rebound after the crisis.
  • when considering the temporary measures, management and senior executives do lead by example, by sharing the burden of measures evenly across the workforce as a whole: air crew, staff, management and senior executives.

In order to allow us to give due consideration to the different proposals you have communicated to the unions in different countries, we must have updated facts regarding our airline group’s cash flow and overheads situation in this new reduced operational status, and therefore invite you to share them with the unions immediately.

Finally, you have endeavoured to use local laws as the baseline for your proposals, but we must bring to your consideration that different countries provide different protections in such circumstances, which must not result in some of our colleagues being left behind. The same applies for those pilots whose employment status makes them particularly vulnerable during such crisis – i.e. all those hired through broker agencies and/or as ‘self-employed’ pilots. None of our colleagues should remain unsupported during this time.

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.

We look forward to your response and urge you to meet (via webex) with Unions and Company Councils as soon as possible.

With best regards,

Jon Horne

ECA President


Philip von Schöppenthau

ECA Secretary General