Ryanair executive quits after flights chaos

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After the cancellations sparked customer outrage and a wave of negative media coverage across Europe, Ryanair has been scrambling to appease its pilots and promised them significant improvements in pay and conditions on Thursday.

Ryanair RYA.I chief operations officer Michael Hickey will resign from the end of the month, the airline said on Friday, becoming the first executive to leave since a rostering mess-up led to the cancellation of thousands of flights.

The move comes after the budget airline was forced to cancel thousands of flights in recent weeks following an issue involving its pilot holiday rota.

ONE OF RYANAIR'S most senior executives is to step down from his position as the airline attempts to rebuild after a damaging few weeks.

Head of Ryanair Michael o'leary wrote a letter to the airline pilots which asked them to improve cost and working conditions.

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This was short of European rules governing flight cancellations and passenger rights, and Ryanair was eventually forced to bow to regulator demands and spell out the options on offer to affected passengers.

Rivals easyJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Jet 2 are circling, however, hoping to poach the Irish airline's captains and crew. O' Leary has repeated stated that his carrier does not have a shortage of pilots.

He concluded the message to pilots by asking them to give the airline any evidence of higher pay by a rival at their base so Ryanair could "meet it and beat it".

Since the cancellation debacle erupted, several former Ryanair pilots have written articles in British newspapers, describing how the Irish airline insists that most of its pilots are self-employed rather than staff, doesn't permit contract negotiations, and often imposes exhausting work schedules.

Mr Hickey, who has been at the budget carrier for almost 30 years, will leave at the end of the month.

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