Ryanair CEO O'Leary offers pilots improved pay and conditions

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Last month, after cancelling thousands of flights due to "messing up" pilot rotas, the Dublin-based carrier offered captains a bonus of up to £12,000 and first officers £6,000 in an attempt to get them to cooperate, but pilots said they wanted better working conditions instead.

O'Leary reportedly accused pilots of being "full of their own self-importance" in the wake of the cancellations.

But in the letter seen by the Irish Independent newspaper, he urges pilots to stay with Ryanair "for a brighter future".

Pilots were told that Ryanair would "beat" the pay and job security offered by fellow budget operators Jet2 and Norwegian Air Shuttle, according to Irish news site TheJournal.ie, which also viewed the letter.

Ryanair has been in crisis after the rota changes - brought about to comply with new aviation rules - led to a shortage of pilots because the airline failed to plan for enough leave.

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Earlier this month, the airline cancelled up to 50 flights a day through to the end of October, also affecting 400,000 passengers.

"It will take years for Ryanair to recover its reputation".

The sweeteners included pay increases, loyalty bonus payments, improved rotas and better compensation for pilots forced to work away from their home base.

Ryanair PLC (LON:RYA) has promised its pilots significant improvements in pay and conditions, saying it would exceed rates paid by rivals and improve job security, as the under-pressure airline tries to combat a protracted battle with its flyers over rota changes.

Ryanair insists the latest reduction in its schedule will "eliminate all risk of further flight cancellations", with the CEO previously stating the airline was "not short of pilots".

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More than 700,000 passengers have been affected by the culling of flights.

"I don't even know how there would be industrial action in Ryanair", Mr O'Leary had said.

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".

Ryanair was wrong to claim it did not have to re-route passengers on rival airlines, it said.

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