Ryanair to hire 2,000 pilots as it bets on global travel resurgence

Ryanair is hoping for travel resurgence as restrictions lift. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Ryanair is hoping for travel resurgence as restrictions lift. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Budget airline Ryanair (RYA.L) announced plans on Monday to hire 2,000 new pilots over the next three years, as it bets on a global travel resurgence following COVID-19.

It said more pilots are needed to fly the 210 Boeing (BA) 737-8200 Gamechangers Ryanair has ordered. Ryanair says the new Boeing aircrafts will help it lower costs, cut fuel consumption and lower noise and CO2 emissions.

The news comes after the airline said it would have to cut around 3,000 pilot and cabin crew jobs last summer, but it was able to "significantly" reduce that number after employees signed up to pay cuts and work practice changes.

"As we take delivery of more than 210 Boeing 737-8200 gamechanger aircraft, Ryanair will recruit 2,000+ pilots over the next three years to fill positions created by this growth," Ryanair’s people director, Darrell Hughes, said. "This is great news for experienced and aspiring pilots but also for our own pilots who will enjoy fast tracked promotions."

Hughes added: Throughout the pandemic, Ryanair has worked closely with our people to save jobs and we are delighted to start planning for a return to growth over the coming years as we recover from the Covid-19 crisis and grow to 200m guests by FY2024.

Shares in the Ryanair were down 4% around midday in London on Monday.

Chart: Yahoo Finance
Chart: Yahoo Finance

It comes as Britain's busiest airport Heathrow said its passenger numbers remain nearly 90% down on pre-COVID levels and significantly lower than EU rival airports.

Read more: UK enjoys COVID recession wealth boom as savings rise by £200bn

Amsterdam Schiphol and Germany's Frankfurt airport both surpassed their 2019 cargo volumes, growing by 14% and 9% respectively.

New figures showed just 957,000 passengers passed through Heathrow's terminals in June compared with 7,246,157 who used the west London airport in June 2019.

The number of passengers travelling through the airport covers the month where Portugal was moved from the green list of countries to amber, leading to fury in the travel industry over the speed of rule changes.

Bosses at Heathrow said that the continued closure of the transatlantic links between the UK and US is costing the UK’s economy at least £23m ($32m) a day.

Heathrow chiefs called on the UK government to do more to help the travel sector following the report.

"While it’s fantastic news that some double-vaccinated passengers will no longer need to quarantine from amber countries, ministers need to extend this policy to US and EU nationals if they want to kickstart the economy," said Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye. "These changes will be critical for exporters who are losing out to EU rivals and families who have been separated from loved ones."

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