Ryanair plans to employ 2,000 pilots for the next three years in one of the largest recruitment units in the aviation industry since the beginning of the pandemic.
The takeover feature will add to the current list of 5,000 pilots in Europe’s largest airline. It also intends to increase the annual number of passengers by more than a third in three years above pre-pandemic levels.
“We are excited to start planning a return to growth in the coming years as we recover from the Covid-19 crisis and grow to 200m guests by the financial year 2024,” said Darrell Hughes, director of people at Ryanair.
In May last year, the company had warned that it would have to cut 3,000 jobs but said it had escaped without any of its pilots being redundant during the pandemic. Some cabin crew have lost their jobs.
However, its pilots have agreed to take a 20 per cent cut in their pay, which will be restored to its original levels in four years.
Ryanair said it needed more pilots to operate its new Boeing 737 Max jets – the first delivery of its order of more than 210 arrived last month. The new aircraft should help the company reduce fuel use, carbon emissions and costs.
Ryanair will start training pilots this year, with the aim of getting them ready to fly by next summer.
Their investments in aircraft and personnel are struggling elsewhere in the industry. As of April, more than 18,000 pilot jobs were threatened or were permanently lost during the pandemic, according to the European Cockpit Association.
Ryanair is betting on pent-up demand for when it slows down overseas travel ease. Chief executive Michael O’Leary believes rivals will not be able to respond to this demand, predicting a 20 per cent drop in the number of short-distance seats available in Europe for years to come.