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All Ryanair Staff to Take 50% Pay Cut as Airline Prepares for Complete Two Month Long Grounding

All Ryanair Staff to Take 50% Pay Cut as Airline Prepares for Complete Two Month Long Grounding

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The chief executive of Ryanair has said that he, along with every other member of staff at the Dublin-based low-cost airline will take a 50 per cent pay cut for both April and May in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Michael O’Leary made the announcement just two days before Ryanair prepared to largely ground its entire fleet for the next two months from March 24 onwards.

The pay cut will also affect workers at Ryanair’s subsidiaries including Polish brand Buzz, the Austrian carrier Laudamotion and Air Malta which Ryanair acquired last year.

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O’Leary and the Ryanair Group say they are basing their timetable for when operations might now resume based on the experience in China where the Covid-19 Coronavirus originated.

“At this time, no one knows how long this Covid shutdown will last,” a statement from the airline said on Tuesday. “The experience in China suggests a 3-month period for the spread of the virus to be contained and reduced,” the statement continued.

“We do not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May at this time, but this will clearly depend upon Government advice, and we will in all cases comply with these instructions”.

Speaking with the Financial Times, O’Leary conceded that the virus was only brought under control in mainland China after the authorities introduced “very draconian lockdown measures”.

“If we follow the same pattern as the Chinese then I think certainly from our perspective we’re talking about a close down that will last for at least three months… but honestly none of us have any idea,” O’Leary cautioned.

Ryanair has previously said it will operate a small number of flights between Ireland and the United Kingdom in order to maintain “essential connectivity” and is now in talks with some governments about operating one-off adhoc rescue flights for citizens who might otherwise be stranded.

Any repatriation flights that do go ahead will have no in-flight service to minimise contact between crew and passengers. The airline has also slashed its head office staff, including contact centres, by half in order to enforce new social distancing rules.

Ryanair also says it is in talks to transport vital medical equipment around Europe in support of the continents emergency response to the pandemic.

A major European pilots union has urged Ryanair to use its “substantial cash liquidity” of €4 billion to save as many jobs as possible and to treat workers in a “socially responsible manner”. The airline says it will base pay cuts on local laws drawn up to deal with the crisis, meaning that some employees may earn more than 50 per cent of their normal wages.

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