Ryanair to hold AGM today amid flight cancellation chaos

Mr O'Leary said some pilots had been offered a 10,000-euro pay rise in exchange for helping out.

He added: "Pilots' rejection of a one-off bonus to work extra hours - a move that management would have liked to pull off in order to lessen the damage being done - has investors anxious that not only may more flights be cancelled, but also that Ryanair is walking into a protracted battle with pilots at the very worst moment".

Ryanair had offered captains a one-off payment of £12,000 or 12,000 euros, and first officers £6,000 or 6,000 euros, but representatives said they wanted new contracts and better working conditions instead.

Ryanair reportedly plans to recruit more than 100 new pilots within the next two weeks as Europe's largest low-priced airline battles to limit the damage of mass cancellations across its sprawling fleet.

He dismissed talk of possible industrial action, including reported plans for a work-to-rule, saying: "There isn't a union".

Mr O'Leary also announced he is planning to slash pilot holidays from four weeks to three with the remaining seven days to be owed in January.

He says that tomorrow Ryanair will launch a new app to show individual duty patterns, including days off, and will allow staff to select the period they wish to work, and the preferred base from which to work.

At a meeting with shareholders at the airline's AGM in Dublin, O'Leary said the airline does not need the agreement of pilots to take back a week of their leave.

One passenger told the Daily Telegraph that the website would not let them book on a flight "unless I paid twice for the seats and bags".

It is also aiming to process 63,000 refunds by the end of the day. With pilots rejecting the latest offer, there is a risk of more cancellations in the future.

Ryanair has canned 2,100 flights to the end of October, as it struggles with landing planes on time, reportedly mainly owing to a shortage of pilots.

Ryanair said extra customer service staff had been brought on to help with flight changes and processing refunds and it expected 95% or around 300,000 of customers affected to have alternative travel arrangements in place or refunds.by the end of the week.

  • David Armstrong